Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, who consistently introduced himself as a former Navy Seal, fell on his own sword on Tuesday and resigned his office effective June 1.
Lt. Gov. Mike Parson will take the oath of office on Friday and complete the governor’s term.
There may have been multiple reasons why the embattled Greitens quit his fight to retain the governor’s seat, but a Tuesday ruling by a Cole County judge which ordered Greitens’ political nonprofit to abide by a subpoena issued by the House investigative committee and turn over communications and documents showing potential coordination among the nonprofit, the governor and the governor’s campaign committee, as well as expenditures related to advertising was the final straw.
Greitens was defiant at the end of his five months of political turmoil as he was at the beginning.
“This ordeal has been designed to cause an incredible amount of strain on my family,” Greitens said at Tuesday afternoon’s press conference. “Millions of dollars in mounting legal bills, endless personal attacks designed to cause maximum damage to family and friends.”
“It’s clear that for the forces that oppose us there is no end in sight. I cannot allow those forces to continue to cause pain and difficulty for the people I love.”
Boone County legislators said they were eager to move forward.
“Today the great state of Missouri moves forward and recommits to the business of governing,” said Sen. Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) in a prepared statement. “I look forward to working with Governor Parson to continue to advance an agenda that grows our economy, strengthens our workforce and provides opportunity to each and every Missouri family.”
District 50 State Representative Sara Walsh (R-Ashland) asked for Missourians to come together for the good of the State.
“The last few months have been very difficult for our state and its citizens. Today is a very somber day. As Gov. Greitens has announced his resignation, I call on all Missourians to pray for and get behind Lt. Governor Mike Parson, who will assume the office of Governor on Friday,” Walsh said in a statement to the Journal.
“We must and will move forward, for the principles and purpose for which we serve the people of Missouri is a bright torch that cannot be extinguished,” Walsh concluded.
Greitens is the first governor to resign since 1857, when Gov. Trusten Polk left office during his second month to take a U.S. Senate seat.
Parson, 63, also a Republican and former sheriff who served 11 years in the General Assembly before being elected Lt. Governor in 2016, will take over as Missouri’s 57th governor. He’ll finish Greitens’ term, which runs to January 2021.
As a candidate, Greitens said he was taking aim at Jefferson City corruption….and then blasted away at targets with a machine gun. However, Greitens never bothered to make political allies in either party and was left standing alone, surrounded by Democrats and Republicans alike to fight his own charges of corruption.
His first year in office was dominated by allegations stemming from his reliance on anonymous campaign contributions.
Then, on the night he delivered his 2018 State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature, the scandal of extra-marital sex became public. Greitens’ former hair dresser alleged that he took a nude photo without her consent to use as blackmail to keep her from divulging the relationship.
That led to a House committee investigation and for the past five months, Greitens has faced a multitude of allegations and detractors. When details of the seamy sex trysts were spelled out in detail – to graphic allegations that led to high-ranking state officials asking for his resignation or impeachment.
Even though he was indicted in St. Louis County – a charge that was later dropped – Greitens claimed he was the victim of politics.
Greitens will still likely face legal challenges.
A Jackson County prosecutor is still looking into charges that A New Missouri, founded by Greitens in February 2017, and whether or not campaign finance laws have been violated.