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 BarlettaBottom Line Ex-GOP congressman to lead group to protect Italian products from tariffs Head of Pennsylvania GOP resigns over alleged explicit texts MORE (R-Pa.), President TrumpDonald John TrumpCDC updates website to remove dosage guidance on drug touted by Trump Trump says he'd like economy to reopen 'with a big bang' but acknowledges it may be limited Graham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill MORE’s close ally and the party’s 2018 nominee for Sen. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseySenate Democrats propose ,000 hazard-pay plan for essential workers Democrats ask EPA, Interior to pause rulemaking amid coronavirus Democratic senators call on domestic airlines to issue cash refunds for travelers 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 CostellloBottom line Former GOP Rep. Costello launches lobbying shop Head of Pennsylvania GOP resigns over alleged explicit texts 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."