On his way out of office, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens broke down and cried.
There is nothing wrong with showing emotion at such a moment, and some tears of remorse or contrition would have been perfectly appropriate, and even welcome.
But true to form, Greitens did not apologize for having put his family or his fellow Republicans or his state through months of agony over allegations of sexual misconduct, campaign finance violations, electronic theft and more.
And even in his brief statement announcing his decision to step down, as of June 1, our soon-to-be ex-governor’s lack of self-awareness and belief in his own victimhood remained impressive.
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Once again, the Navy SEAL who was going to ride in and clean up Jefferson City only seemed sorry for himself. It was at the injustice of his treatment at the hands of mysterious “forces” seeking to “cause maximum damage to family and friends” that he wept.
Don’t be so modest, governor; it is you, and only you, who have done this damage, just as it is the rest of us who will be trying to restore Missouri’s reputation long after most of the country has forgotten how to pronounce your name.
Of course, we are grateful that Missouri’s term of torture is over at last.
There is no mystery at all about why, after repeatedly vowing to remain in office, Greitens is instead leaving to spend more time on his criminal defense.
He’s giving up because, in non-legal terms, the jig was up.
Hours earlier, Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem ruled that A New Missouri, a secretive group supporting Greitens, which may have coordinated with his campaign, would have to turn over documents and correspondence to the Missouri House committee investigating him and considering impeachment.
He was going to have to comply with subpoenas by Friday and wasn’t going to be able to continue putting off the committee, before whom he never testified.
Impeachment seemed almost inevitable.
He’s also giving up because he’s apparently cut a deal with St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, who announced that her office has reached a resolution on the felony electronic theft charge against Greitens.
His legal problems haven’t disappeared, though. Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said she’ll continue to investigate Greitens on potential sexual misconduct charges. “In the interest of pursing justice to its fullest lengths, we will continue until our work on the case is completed. Specifically regarding any deals we made with Governor Greitens’ attorneys, no deals were made by my office. Our review of this case, as I have stated before, will be pursued without fear or favor.”
At least for now, the governor continues to insist that “I have not broken any laws.”
“I came to office to fight for the people of Missouri,” he said, and “to fight for the forgotten.” But from the first, he seemed to have forgotten all of his campaign promises about ethics reform.
Only now has he remembered the suffering of “the many, many people that I love,” and the strain that these scandals have put on his family.
And the next time someone who shows up out of nowhere and seems too good to be true, can voters please remember to proceed carefully?