Last month, Missouri Southern State University abruptly shut down its internship program at the Missouri State Capitol. The reason behind that move became clear yesterday, when the Kansas City Star revealed that (Republican, married, anti-gay) House Speaker John Diehl was sexting a college freshman intern. A story as old as time, and one that never gets less gross.
The text messages obtained by the Star reveal a “sexually charged,” as everyone is genteelly putting it, relationship between Diehl and the young woman, who has not been named. Such as:
Her: You better take care of me.
Diehl: Like how?
Her: I’ll bet you’ll figure it out.
Diehl: I dunno. You have always been disappointed;)
Her: I just have high expectations, I guess. Thus far, you’ve done pretty well [Kiss-blowing emoji]
Diehl: :). I kinda want to hear what you are expecting. “You will be in good hands :)
The screenshots seems to indicate that the Star’s Jason Hancock got the screenshots from the intern’s phone, not the speaker’s. Brace yourself, this one’s worse:
There are many, many more: Hancock obtained pages and pages of screenshots.
The irony here is particularly rich, as Right Wing Watch points out, given that Diehl has loudly protested gay marriage because it offends his highly refined values. He was commended by the anti-gay Missouri Family Policy Council, which said that he and another senator demonstrated “moral leadership and true integrity in standing up for the sacred institution of marriage and the family values of the people of Missouri.”
There has never been a time when an elected official is praised for his “family values” that it does not come back to bite him in the worst way possible. Remember this, family values Republicans. Learn it well. For once.
Naturally, House Democrats immediately began circulating a petition calling for Diehl to step down as Speaker, which he’s not gonna do. He released a statement yesterday apologizing for “bad judgment:”
I take full responsibility for my actions and am truly sorry to those I let down. I apologize for the poor judgment I displayed that put me and those closest to me in this situation. I also regret that the woman has been dragged into this situation. The buck stops here. I ask for forgiveness. I will begin immediately working to restore the trust of those closest to me, and getting back to the important work that is required in the final days of session.
Update, 2:38 p.m.: The Associated Press is reporting that Diehl has resigned from the Legislature.
Diehl pictured in 2013. Photo via AP Images