Embattled Missouri Governor Eric Greitens announced on Tuesday he will resign over the scandals that have dominated his tenure.
The Republican governor has been embroiled in controversy after facing accusations of sexual misconduct and misusing a charity donor list. In recent months, Greitens had been indicted on a felony computer-tampering charge related to the donor list and on a felony invasion of privacy charge, though that charge was dropped earlier this month.
In a statement released shortly after Greitens announced his resignation, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner said, “a fair and just resolution” of pending charges against the governor has been reached and that additional information regarding the resolution would be released on Wednesday.
Greitens did not admit to legal wrongdoing during a press conference where he announced his resignation, saying that while he is “not perfect,” he has “not broken any laws, nor committed any offense worthy of this treatment.”
Greitens indicated, though, that the scrutiny he faces had become too intense to continue on as governor.
“This ordeal has been designed to cause an incredible amount of strain on my family,” he said. “Millions of dollars of mounting legal bills, endless personal attacks designed to cause maximum damage to family and friends. Legal harassment of colleagues, friends and campaign workers and 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 to the people that I love.”
The resignation will take effect at 5 p.m. on Friday, Greitens said.
Mike Parson, the current lieutenant governor of the state, is expected to assume the office of governor.
Greitens had previously defied calls for his resignation, including from top Missouri Republicans. But in addition to his legal troubles, the possibility of impeachment loomed.
In mid-April, a Missouri state House committee released a report alleging that Greitens subjected a woman to non-consensual sexual activity and violence. Greitens described the report as “tabloid trash gossip” rooted in “lies and falsehoods.”
“The time has come though to tend to those who have been wounded and to care for those who need us most,” Greitens said in his speech on Tuesday. “So, for the moment, let us walk off the battlefield with our heads held high. We have a good and proud story to tell our children. Let’s love them, and each other every day.”
Greitens did not take questions from assembled reporters.
Reaction to the resignation
Prominent Missouri Republicans expressed support for Greitens’ decision to resign on Tuesday.
Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, a Republican, said that Greitens had made the “best decision” possible.
“The governor made the best decision for his family and the state. I look forward to Gov. Parson’s leadership and will do everything I can be to be helpful,” Blunt said in a statement.
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, who is seeking election to the U.S. Senate, called the resignation “the right thing.”
“Governor Greitens has done the right thing today,” Hawley said in a statement. “I wish incoming Governor Mike Parson well, and stand ready to assist him in his transition.”
Missouri Democratic Party Chair Stephen Webber said in a statement that Democrats in the state will “work to undo the damage done” by Greitens
“While corruption ended Eric Greitens’ career as a politician, his schemes to slash workers’ pay and rip healthcare away from vulnerable seniors continue to hurt Missourians,” he said. “Missouri Democrats will continue to work to undo the damage done by Eric Greitens and his Republican cronies.”