On Thursday, an office of the inspector general (OIG) report was released on a year-long investigation into Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie and his handling of sexual assault and harassment claims made by House aide and veteran Andrea Goldstein. In the report, the inspector general’s office said that while it could not substantiate claims that Wilkie did anything illegal during his handling of the situation, he very clearly spent most of his time trying to attack the integrity of the woman reporting the assault, as opposed to the perpetrator. “The tone set by Secretary Wilkie was at minimum unprofessional and at worst provided the basis for VA leaders’ attempts to undermine the veteran’s credibility.”
One of the things reaffirmed by the report was that “multiple witnesses” said that Wilkie told them Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas was the source of alleged “damaging information” against Goldstein. Crenshaw has denied that he has any link to a campaign to smear Goldstein’s credibility. In fact, he has, like all Republican cowards before him, blamed his shitty thoughts and feelings on a grand conspiracy created by the Democratic establishment. But the OIG’s report contradicts Crenshaw’s weak-sauce excuses.
As Newsweek reports, one of Crenshaw’s denials was that he never discussed Goldstein’s past or character with Wilkie during their brief meeting at a Dec. 4, 2019 fundraiser. However, shortly after the fundraiser—four minutes to be exact—Wilkie sent an email to his top two deputies, writing: “Ask me in the morning what Congressman Crenshaw said about the Takano staffer whose glamor shot was in The New York Times.” Crenshaw told Newsweek that he never spoke with Wilkie about Goldstein and claimed that Wilkie probably stuck his name in the email by mistake because the two men just happened to have recently had lunch together.
However, the private lunch Crenshaw referred to did not occur until more than two weeks later on December 19, 2019, according to the OIG report.
Somebody’s lying—and all of them are conservatives.
Crenshaw, who enjoys pretending he isn’t just a run-of-the-mill conservative follower, is in a pickle here. The problem for Crenshaw is not simply the optics of being a cowardly misogynist but that in the unfolding of this investigation, the true nature of the misogyny is abjectly pathetic. For example, the information that Wilkie and his team ran with, and that Crenshaw was in part responsible for, was an idea that Goldstein had made similar accusations before the alleged incident Veterans Affairs was supposed to be investigating. The idea here was that Goldstein’s credibility was suspect because she had made a claim before. However, what is known for sure is that the contractor that Goldstein made the claim against “did not have credentials to enter the hospital and had been the subject of a previous sexual harassment complaint from a VA employee.”
And yet Wilkie and others just ran with the idea that Goldstein and Pelosi and Takano had made the whole thing up to hurt conservatives. Weird way to run an investigation.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw is a conservative publicity machine creation, not a leader. A few weeks ago Sen. Ed Markey reminded the world that Crenshaw owes his position as an elected official to one of the most transparently tortured and racist riggings of a district map in the whole of Christendom.