Hartmann: The Perpetual Victimhood of Eric Greitens

click to enlarge Eric Greitens. - DANNY WICENTOWSKI
Eric Greitens.

Poor Eric Greitens. He’s being falsely accused by a woman again.

As you might have heard, Sheena Chestnut Greitens has gone public with some accusations against her ex-husband, Eric Greitens, our disgraced ex-governor.

Sheena Greitens is a highly credentialed professor and foreign-policy expert. Eric Greitens is a well-known liar, bully and scumbag. But it must be emphasized that her claims are just that — claims — so far be it from me to pass any judgments.

Sheena says that in their family life her husband demonstrated “unstable and coercive behavior” — pretty much how Missouri Republicans described Greitens’ conduct as governor before running him out of Jefferson City on a rail in May 2018. That’s an observation, not a judgment.

Sheena Greitens also said this in a child-custody filing:

“Prior to our divorce, during an argument in late April 2018, Eric knocked me down and confiscated my cell phone, wallet and keys so that I was unable to call for help or extricate myself and our children from our home. I became afraid for my safety and that of our children at our home.” She later added that his “behavior included physical violence toward our children, such as cuffing our then-3-year-old son across the face at the dinner table in front of me and yanking him around by his hair.”

And what does that make Eric Greitens? Why, that’s easy, just ask him. He’s the victim. (Remember, no judgments here.)

Greitens is, of course, among the leading candidates in the August 2 Republican primary to replace retiring U.S. Senator Roy Blunt. He wants to make America Greitens again, which is to say a place where a man can be a man and not have to endure lies about his noble character from women being manipulated by dark RINO forces.

You know, like this 2018 testimony before a House investigatory committee from his former hairdresser, the mistress with whom he was admittedly cheating on Sheena Greitens:

She testified that "Greitens taped her hands to pull-up rings, blindfolded her, started kissing her, ripped open the shirt and pulled down her pants. She didn’t give consent to be disrobed or kissed. The woman testified that she then heard a click, like of a cellphone picture, and saw a flash. And that Greitens told her: ‘Don’t even mention my name to anybody at all, because if you do, I’m going to take these pictures, and I’m going to put them everywhere I can. They are going to be everywhere, and then everyone will know what a little whore you are.’ When she remained silent, the woman said Greitens spanked me and said, ‘Are you going to mention my name?’ And I said, I just gritted through my teeth, and I said, ‘No.’ And he’s like, ‘Good, now that’s a good girl.’”

“I was definitely fearful,” the woman testified to the legislative committee.

After telling Greitens “I don’t want this,” the woman testified that Greitens unbound her hands. She said she started “uncontrollably crying.” She said Greitens then grabbed her in a hug and laid her down. She said he put his penis near her face, and she gave him oral sex. Asked by the committee whether the oral sex was coerced, she responded: “Coerced, maybe. I felt as though that would allow me to leave.”

At the time, Greitens had pretty much the same response as he has now to his ex-wife’s allegations: He’s the real victim here.

“This is a political witch hunt,” Greitens told the media. “This is exactly like what’s happening with the witch hunts in Washington, D.C.”

No judgments, please.

Greitens has dusted off the old playbook, even though it didn’t save his skin when the sex scandal was multiplied by a looming campaign-finance scandal involving alleged misuse for political purposes of his charity, The Mission Continues.

Greitens portrayed himself as the victim of still another witch hunt in that one. And when in February 2020 the Missouri Ethics Commission fined him a near-record $178,000 for violating campaign-finance laws — but couldn’t prove that his conduct met the standard of criminality — Greitens claimed “exoneration.” That term sound familiar?

Now the strategy of going on offense — in the apparent absence of a defense — has again been advanced by Greitens and his legal team in response to Sheena Greitens’ claims. For one thing, they reason, Sheena obviously was being manipulated by politicos like Karl Rove and Greitens’ former chief of staff, Austin Chambers.

Well, of course. Sheena Greitens couldn’t come up with the story by herself. It’s not like she’s an associate professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and director of UT’s Asia Policy Program. Or that she is also a Jeane Kirkpatrick Visiting Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and an associate in research at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University.

OK, so she is. But hey, she’s a scorned woman, Greitens’ lawyers argue. If he was such a bad guy, why didn’t she bring this up during their divorce? Why didn’t she go to the authorities? See, she’s the bad one here. After all, why should she ever fear violence from such a kind and gentle soul as Eric?

That’s pretty compelling, if by “compelling” one actually means to say “truly disgusting at a level that is shocking even by the standards of a low-life, roid-raging, dirty-rat sleazeball of a serial liar.” No judgments, though.

There is, however, a silver lining to the story for Eric Greitens. He is such a walking political scandal that — in the tradition of Stormy Daniels’ best-known former lover — Greitens is fairly inoculated from the next scandal.

Ask yourself this: What sort of person would have actively supported another political run by someone with Greitens’ sordid past? What Republican would prefer Greitens as a U.S. senator over an entire field of well-known MAGA-loving Trump sycophants, none of whom is known to have “allegedly” abused women and children?

I’ll tell you who: the kind of Republican who will neither know nor care about Sheena Greitens’ allegations. If you think Eric Greitens is going anywhere but on the attack in the wake of his ex-wife’s revelations about him, you haven’t been paying attention to his work.

At worst for Greitens, the scandals have tightened the primary race for now. But they might have set the stage for an utter bombardment of conspiracy-mongering ads on the airwaves before August 2 with the help of Greitens’ endless supply of dirty dark-money funders. The message: Greitens is the victim of the RINOs who want to destroy America with radical socialism and pedophilia.

That might mean a primary victory for Greitens. And that would represent the best hope that Missouri Democrats have to flip the Senate seat in November. That would be a fine result for America and the world — brought to you by one of its most repugnant inhabitants.

No judgments though.

Ray Hartmann founded the Riverfront Times in 1977. Contact him at [email protected] or catch him on Donnybrook at 7 p.m. on Thursdays on the Nine Network and St. Louis In the Know With Ray Hartmann from 9 to 11 p.m. Monday thru Friday on KTRS (550 AM).

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