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Hawley says Greitens should drop out of Senate race amid abuse allegations

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) arrives to the Capitol for a series of votes including the final passage of the National Defense Authorization Act and a judicial nomination on Wednesday, December 15, 2021.
Greg Nash

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) on Monday said Missouri GOP Senate candidate Eric Greitens should drop out of the race after the former governor’s ex-wife accused him of abusing her and their children while they were married.

“If you hit a woman or a child, you belong in handcuffs, not the United States Senate,” Hawley tweeted. “It’s time for Eric Greitens to leave this race.”

In court documents made public Monday, Greitens’s ex-wife accused him of knocking her down, taking away her phone and keys, physically abusing their children and threatening suicide if she did not publicly support him during the scandal that led him to resign as Missouri governor. 

He resigned in 2018 over claims he sexually assaulted and blackmailed his hairdresser. He insisted that their interactions were consensual, but a state legislative investigation deemed the allegations of abuse credible.

Hawley, who was the state’s attorney general in 2018, said at the time Greitens had “done the right thing” by resigning. In addition to the woman’s allegations, Hawley’s office said Greitens may have committed a felony by using a donor list of his veterans charity to ask for donations when he was running for governor in 2016. 

Greitens asked for a restraining order against Hawley in an attempt to stop the investigations. The request was denied. 

Hawley has endorsed Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), one of Greitens’s opponents in the crowded Republican primary. 

In April 2021, Hawley said he stood by his calls for Greitens to resign in 2018. The Hill has reached out to Hawley for additional comment.

The Greitens campaign denied the latest claims, calling them “gross” and “completely false.”

“Eric will fight for his children and defend himself from these outright lies. His children deserve a father who will speak the truth and stand up against malicious attacks that are clearly politically motivated,” the campaign said. 

While polls were showing Greitens at the top, Republicans have been attempting to halt his popularity because of his tarnished past. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) endorsed Missouri state Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R). 

Greitens’s opponents are also calling for him to drop out of the race.

Tags Josh Hawley Ted Cruz Vicky Hartzler

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