Head of Pennsylvania GOP resigns over alleged explicit texts

Head of Pennsylvania GOP resigns over alleged explicit texts
© Philadelphia Inquirer

The head of the Pennsylvania Republican Party resigned Tuesday after reports that he sent sexually explicit text messages and pictures to a Philadelphia City Council candidate, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Val DiGiorgio allegedly sent Irina Goldstein a photo of his genitals and said it was her “duty to the party” to send photos back, promising to “get you to [the] White House at some point,” according to the newspaper in a story it published earlier Tuesday.

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DiGiorgio resigned Tuesday afternoon, saying in a statement that all communications between the two had been consensual.

“The attempt to represent these communications as anything other than that came only after I declined to support [Goldstein’s] candidacy and take sides in the party primary,” he said in the statement.

In a statement announcing DiGiorgio’s departure, the state GOP praised DiGiorgio’s leadership, writing that he “leaves the state party stronger than when he was elected as Chairman and poised for future victories in 2019 and 2020.”

Acting Chairman Bernie Comfort said, “I wish Val DiGiorgio well in his next endeavor,” in the statement. Reached for comment, the party referred The Hill to the Pennsylvania GOP’s statement on the matter, which does not reference the allegations. 

DiGiorgio himself did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Former Rep. Lou BarlettaLouis (Lou) James BarlettaHead of Pennsylvania GOP resigns over alleged explicit texts Trump's most memorable insults and nicknames of 2018 GOP trading fancy offices, nice views for life in minority MORE (R-Pa.), President TrumpDonald John Trump5 things to know about Boris Johnson Conservatives erupt in outrage against budget deal Trump says Omar will help him win Minnesota MORE’s close ally and the party’s 2018 nominee for Sen. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyDemocrats pledge to fight Trump detention policy during trip to border Democrats grill USDA official on relocation plans that gut research staff Trump's new labor chief alarms Democrats, unions MORE’s (D) seat, told Politico he had been urged to seek the chairmanship.

"Although I have not campaigned for it, I have received calls from supporters to consider it," he told the publication. "Whoever the next chair is, they need to focus on getting President Trump re-elected, growing the majority in the state legislature and re-electing incumbents in Congress. I will continue to help the president and the party any way I can."

Barletta’s relationship with Trump would likely make him a front-runner, former Rep. Ryan CostelloRyan Anthony CostellloHead of Pennsylvania GOP resigns over alleged explicit texts Lobbying world Overnight Energy: Park Service closing Joshua Tree after shutdown damage | Dems deliver trash from parks to White House | Dems offer bills to block offshore drilling | Oil lobby worries about Trump trade fight MORE (R-Pa.) told Politico.

“I'm hearing it is Barletta's if he wants it, he holds a special place in Trump's political orbit,” he said, but he added there are “a few talented county chairs that are being talked about, too."