The Buzz

Tom Schweich chief of staff says John Hancock admitted talking about the candidate’s Jewish faith


UPDATED: (2 p.m. Wednesday)

In what apparently was her first interview, Tom Schweich’s former chief of staff said Wednesday morning that John Hancock admitted to her that he had told other Republicans that Schweich was Jewish.

On KTRS Radio in St. Louis, chief of staff Trish Vincent said she talked to Hancock in a December telephone call. But Hancock also said he had stopped making the references.

“I was, but I’m not anymore,” is what Vincent said Hancock told her about mentioning Schweich’s faith.

Hancock, the new chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, is accused of being the central player in an alleged whispering campaign about Schweich’s faith.

In fact, Schweich was not Jewish, although his grandfather was.

At the time that Hancock made the remarks, he is thought to have been working for another gubernatorial candidate, Catherine Hanaway.

Hancock has acknowledged that he may have “mentioned Tom’s faith” in conversation, although he said there was “nothing malicious” about it.

In a statement Wednesday, Hancock pointed out that Vincent had campaigned “aggressively” against him for party chair.

“Her claim that I acknowledged telling others Tom was Jewish is untrue,” Hancock said. “As I have said consistently, I have no recollection of discussing Tom’s religion with anyone. It is telling that not one person has come forward with any evidence of an alleged whisper campaign. There was no whisper campaign.”

In Wednesday’s interview, Vincent said Hancock called her in December to tell her he was running for Missouri GOP chair. In that conversation, Vincent said Hancock asked her to continue as the party’s vice chair.

Vincent said she told Hancock she couldn’t support him for chair because he had been telling people that Schweich was Jewish.

“Well, I was but I’m not anymore,” Vincent said Hancock told her.

Vincent did not specify the context in which Hancock made the remarks about Schweich’s faith.

In the interview, Vincent pointed out that Hancock had worked for Schweich before. She said she didn’t understand why Hancock wasn’t aware of Schweich’s true faith.

Last month, Vincent lost her bid to remain as party vice chair at a Missouri GOP meeting in Kansas City.

KTRS planned to post the Vincent interview on its website.