McConnell sidesteps saying if Greitens should end Senate bid

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) addresses reporters after the weekly policy luncheon on Tuesday, March 15, 2022.
Anna Rose Layden

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday sidestepped saying if former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, who is running for Senate, should drop out in the wake of allegations of abuse by his former wife.

“Well look I think all of the developments of the last 24 hours are things the people of Missouri are going to take into account both the primary and I would assume would take into account in the general,” McConnell said during a weekly press conference.

McConnell taking a stance on Greitens could risk injecting the GOP leader into the Missouri primary, and would likely prompt a response from Greitens, who has said that he would not support the Kentucky Republican as party leader. 

But McConnell’s comments come after an affidavit by Sheena Greitens, the former governor’s ex-wife, that contained several disturbing details, including that Eric Greitens bought a gun, hid it from his family and threatened to kill himself if his then-wife did not provide “specific public political support” prior to his 2018 resignation.

Sheena Greitens also alleged that her ex-husband grew physically violent with her and her children. The ex-governor has denied the allegations, but Sheena Greitens said in a statement on Tuesday that she stood by her sworn statements.

The allegations have sent off alarm bells among national Republicans and sparked calls from Greitens’s primary challengers for him to resign.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), McConnell’s No. 2, indicated on Tuesday that he thought Greitens should drop out and questioned how he could be a viable general election candidate. Republicans are hoping to keep the Missouri seat in GOP hands after Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the No. 4 GOP senator, retires at the end of his temr.

“I don’t know why you would want to … continue the race in this case. It just seems like with that, coupled with all the other scandals, it’s hard to see how he could be a viable general election candidate,” Thune said on Monday. 

Blunt hasn’t endorsed in the primary race. But he signaled on Tuesday that if the allegations are true, Greitens should leave the Senate race.

“If the filings are true, he should not be a candidate for the Senate,” Blunt said. 

Tags Eric Greitens John Thune Missouri Mitch McConnell Roy Blunt Sheena Greitens

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