Eric Greitens and his Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens was a rising star in the Republican Party. The fresh-faced Navy Seal was an outsider with a remarkable resume on track for a big future in politics. Then, suddenly everything went wrong.


The apparent fall of Missouri Governor Eric Greitens came as fast as his sudden rise. The recent announcement he would be facing two more counts of felony computer tampering in addition to his felony invasion of privacy charges mark a new low for Greitens; the governor who once had presidential aspirations and now increasingly likely facing impeachment.

Ambition was nothing new for the Maryland Heights born Greitens who graduated from Parkway North in 1992. A 2016 St. Louis Post-Dispatch interview with Greitens’ Kindergarten teacher revealed he had political ambitions from a young age. “When I would read the little kindergarten books, ‘What I want to be when I grow up,’ and at the end, I would go around the circle and ask the children what they wanted to be, I remember this: He wanted to be president,” recalled Anne Richardson, who was Greitens’ kindergarten teacher at McKelvey Elementary. “He was the only kid I ever remember saying that.”

Greitens had what seemed like the perfect resume. He graduated from Duke University and was selected as a Rhodes Scholar, studying at Oxford. He served as a Humanitarian working with orphaned children in Rwanda and Cambodia as well as in Mother Teresa’s home for destitute and dying in India. After 9/11, Greitens joined the military and became a Navy Seal serving in Afghanistan where he earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star. After returning home, Greitens wrote a New York Times best-selling book about his experience as a volunteer and a Navy Seal. He started “The Mission Continues,” a non-for-profit helping veterans find opportunities. In 2014, Fortune Magazine named him one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders and in Time’s 100 Most Influential People In The World.

While the announcement he was running Governor in 2015 was Greitens first official foray into politics, his interest began much earlier. It was discovered someone registered the website, in 2009, a full seven years before his Greitens eventual run for governor. It’s no surprise too that with such a background, Greitens, who was Democrat until at least 2013, had been recruited by both parties to run for office. In 2015, Greitens wrote an Op-ed for the New York Times explaining that has he got older he became disenfranchised with the democratic party and “no longer believed in their ideas”.

Following an unorthodox campaign that included machine guns and explosions, the Republican Greitens won the governor’s election with 51% of the vote. Riding the red wave that swept the state across the state in 2016.

However, outside of his seemingly perfect resume, Greitens had skeletons in his closet, past mistakes that didn’t take long to catch up with him. Almost exactly a year after being sworn Missouri’s 56th Governor, it was revealed Greitens had an extramarital affair in 2015. Worse, he was accused of taking a semi-nude photo of his paramour against her will in an attempt to blackmail her into silence. St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardener announced she would begin a criminal investigation, and a month later, Greitens was indicted on Felony Invasion of Privacy Charges.

Under Missouri law, Felony Invasion of Privacy is defined as “Photographs, films, videotapes, produces, or otherwise creates an image of another person, without the person’s consent, while the person is in a state of full or partial nudity and is in a place where one would have a reasonable expectation of privacy”

Greitens was arrested and placed in handcuffs before being released on bond. The surprise indictment sent shockwaves through Missouri politics and indemnity put the governor’s future in jeopardy. Greitens, while acknowledging he made a personal mistake, has maintained he has not committed a crime and repeatedly called the investigations against him a “political witch hunt” and a “misguided political decision” by a “reckless liberal prosecutor.”

The woman’s allegations, detailed in a newly released House Oversight Committee report on April 11 described in disturbing detail the forceful sexual contact between Missouri Governor Eric Greitens and his personal Hairdresser in 2015.

The sworn testimony paints Greitens as a controlling and quick to use physical force to get his way. The woman alleges Greitens struck her in the face, taped and blindfolded her, groped her without her consent and called her a “whore.”

“I was definitely fearful. I was so embarrassed and ashamed, because I really felt like a whore because I had let him get me in this position before we’ve even kissed. I felt really used. I felt like what the – who are you? I think it was the thing that just kept playing through my mind is, who are you? What is this? What Is this? Oh, my God, where am I? Get me out of here – because I just kept saying, Get me out of here. I’m not ready for this.”

The reaction to the report has been swift, Republican House Speaker Paul Richardson said he would seek a special session to investigate and explore the possibility of impeachment. “The testimony outlined in the report is beyond disturbing,” Richardson said. “The power given to the Missouri General Assembly to take disciplinary action or to remove elected officials from office is one of the most serious and consequential powers the Constitution grants the Legislature.”

Adding to the legal firestorm surrounding the Governor, just last week, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announced Greitens is now facing two new charges of Felony Computer Tampering stemming from his use of his charity donor list.

A report released May 2 by the House Committee investigating Greitens shows that he ran an shadow campaign before officially registering to run and lied in campaign filling to the state’s ethics commission, a class A misdemeanor. The evidence showing that Greitens campaign used exploits to gain an advantage, using illegally funded money from a private donor list which he pledged to keep private.

Greitens future is grim, with his invasion of privacy trial coming up on May 14 and new scandals seemingly breaking everyday, his chances of making it through the end of his term is increasingly unlikely.