Government & Politics

Republican congresswoman Ann Wagner calls Greitens 'unfit to lead'

U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner has joined the chorus of Missouri leaders calling on Gov. Eric Greitens to step down in the wake of a legislative report that details allegations of sexual and physical abuse.

Wagner, a Republican from the St. Louis area, said that she was disgusted and disheartened after reading the report.

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U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, a Missouri Republican File photo

“I am disgusted, disheartened, and I believe Governor Greitens is unfit to lead our state,” Wagner said in a statement.

Missouri lawmakers have already called a special session to act on any recommendations from the bipartisan panel investigating the governor after the legislative session concludes, and lawmakers of both parties have raised the possibility of impeachment.

“This is a sad chapter in our history that should never have come to pass,” Wagner said. “Two months ago, after the disturbing allegations against the Governor came to light, I called for an immediate and transparent investigation. The transcripts paint the picture of a vulnerable woman and a man who preyed on that vulnerability.”

The report outlines accusations that Greitens forced himself on a woman in 2015 and struck her on three occasions. Greitens faces a related criminal trial in St. Louis for felony invasion of privacy based on allegations that he photographed the woman without her consent.

Greitens refused to testify before the legislative committee ahead of the trial and called his accusers liars at a news conference before the report’s release. He released an additional statement Wednesday evening, reasserting his innocence.

“This was an entirely consensual relationship, and any allegation of violence or sexual assault is false. This was a months-long consenting relationship between two adults,” Greitens said in the statement.

Wagner’s comments follow condemnations of Greitens from U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, a fellow Missouri Republican, and U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat who called on Greitens to resign.

Attorney General Josh Hawley, a Republican who is running for McCaskill’s Senate seat, also called on Greitens to resign Wednesday night and called the behavior alleged in the report “certainly impeachable.”