Embattled Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens vowed he is not resigning in the wake of an acknowledged affair and allegations of blackmail involving his former hairstylist.
In an interview with the Associated Press over the weekend, a chastened Greitens said he is “100 percent focused on serving the people of Missouri.”
The absurdity of that statement, given the swirling controversy whipping his administration, is laughable.
It’s hard to imagine anyone, even a Navy Seal, being able to focus on their day job given the turbulence the governor is facing over his sexual hijinks.
Greitens is a full-blown scandal of his own making. He wants to change the subject and move on, but this controversy isn’t going away any time soon.
The St. Louis circuit attorney is investigating the blackmail allegations. Unconfirmed reports surfaced over the weekend that the FBI also is looking into the matter. Political operatives from both parties are swarming. The Capitol is marinating in rumors and innuendo.
Greitens is the author and star of this sideshow. His ability to lead has been compromised. Managing a scandal takes a tremendous amount of time and energy. He should step down precisely because he can’t give his job his full focus and attention.
That was the case even before the scandal. Since taking office, Greitens’ focus was divided between serving Missourians and building a national profile. One critic argued he was simply renting the governor’s office in his bid for the White House.
What we need now is what Greitens can’t deliver — a governor who isn’t distracted by scandal and who can truly devote 100 percent of his time to serving the people of Missouri.
That person is Lt. Gov. Mike Parson, the man who would replace Greitens if he resigned.
The Bolivar native would be an effective governor. He has the requisite skills and experience, as well as a steady hand.
Parson knows the state and its issues, having served in the Legislature for 12 years. He is respected by both Republicans and Democrats for being a no-nonsense, straight-shooting, clear-eyed leader.
Parson is a former sheriff of Polk County, a small business owner and third-generation farmer, who has been a strong advocate for our state’s agriculture interests.
Parson won election in 2016 by carrying 110 of Missouri’s 114 counties, receiving the most votes of any lieutenant governor in Missouri history. That is an impressive mandate.
Parson isn’t flashy, isn’t a Rhodes Scholar and probably can’t rappel into an arena Navy Seal-style, to wow a crowd. But the Army veteran has the talent and common sense to get the job done.
More importantly, he is not burdened by scandal or blinded by the ambition of higher office. He can give the job his full attention.
It’s time for Gov. Greitens to let Lt. Gov. Parson take the reins.