Hello out there. Gov. Greitens? You there? Taking any questions today?
Missouri’s still-new governor is often compared to President Donald Trump for his promises to upend the status quo. But there’s at least one big difference between the two, and that’s Eric Greitens’ reticence to talk to reporters.
He won’t do it. Or at least he won’t do it very often.
He has gone out of his way to avoid reporters, particularly those who actually cover him day to day. He has held exactly one full-blown Statehouse news conference since his January inauguration. The reluctance is staggering for an official who holds the state’s highest office. Citizens have never seen anything like it, and neither has the press corps.
Phill Brooks, who covered the Capitol for decades, wrote that Greitens had draped a “cloak of secrecy” over the building.
The governor once had the audacity to complain about a lack of coverage. That was something, given how often Greitens refuses to say even a single word about the big issues facing Missouri.
There was that subpoena from state Auditor Nicole Galloway ordering Greitens’ administration to turn over information on income tax refunds. No comment.
And that $1,000 fine the Ethics Commission levied against the governor over a list of donors that his campaign acquired. No comment.
He was asked how much, exactly, each of the donors to his inauguration contributed. Nope.
What about his policy of paying for travel around the state? It’s a practice that could save taxpayers money, but it raises questions about who’s picking up the tab. Nothing.
Then there was the governor’s decision to invite a big-time campaign donor to his inauguration even though he had been accused of sexual abuse. And there was his decision to hire a former Huffington Post editor who faced sexual harassment accusations. And just days into the job, Greitens opted to attend the annual Alfalfa Club Dinner in Washington, D.C., with some of the world’s richest people. What about all that?
No comment, no comment, no comment.
Greitens has even declined to talk about some basic questions of governance, such as the Senate’s refusal to vote on his top appointments and questions about whether security levels in the Statehouse are adequate. He gave the same non-response when asked about his plan to cut state-funded care for 20,000 disabled Missourians .
Trump’s first 100 days in office? Greitens’ first 100 days?
No comment and no comment again.
Working out with police cadets and driving through a Taco Bell to sign a bill, and then posting about it on Facebook, aren’t getting the job done. There are so many things we — and the Missourians who elected you — would like to know. The list of questions is growing:
▪ What’s your plan for highway funding going forward, now that nothing has happened this session?
▪ How likely are you to call a special session to deal with the Real ID law so that Missourians can board planes with their driver’s licenses if lawmakers don’t pass a fix?
▪ Why so much secrecy about who funded your campaign? It seems antithetical to your calls for ethics reform.
▪ Do you support the Republican health care bill?
▪ Will you sign that UMKC performing arts campus bill that now sits on your desk?
▪ What about the job itself? Do you like it?
People want to hear from you, governor. Yet you choose to remain a man of mystery. Hello? Anybody home?