Editorials

Does disgraced Gov. Eric Greitens deserve to have a portrait in the Missouri Capitol?

Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens
Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens AP

Eric Greitens did not deserve to remain in Missouri’s top office after credible allegations of sexual coercion and violations of campaign finance laws emerged earlier this year.

But the state’s short-term governor — he resigned in June after only 16 months in office — does deserve to have a portrait in the Missouri Capitol along with other former state leaders.

Portraits of past governors hang in an exhibit on the ground floor of the Capitol. Paintings of the state’s first ladies are displayed in the Governor’s Mansion.

There are no immediate plans to add paintings of Greitens or his wife, Sheena, to the collections, officials say. And the disgraced former governor has effectively disappeared, at least for now.

But eventually, paintings of Greitens and the former first lady should be commissioned. A portrait is not an endorsement of Greitens’ scandal-plagued tenure but merely an acknowledgment of reality.

Greitens was governor. That history can’t be erased. Tradition holds that portraits of Missouri’s leaders hang in the Capitol, and Greitens should be treated no differently.

One former Missouri governor was accused of treason. Another led a shadow government during the Civil War. Both of their portraits are on display. Greitens’ should be as well.

After all, the political newcomer certainly left an indelible mark on the state.

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