UMSL political scientists discuss Missouri governor’s situation with local and national news outlets
Robertson, the chair of the Department of Political Science, appeared on “Today in St. Louis” on KSDK (Channel 5) last week following Greitens’ State of the State Address – and the admission of a previous extramarital affair and an allegation of blackmail against him that promptly overshadowed it late the same night.
“Eric Greitens is a rising star in the Republican Party,” he told anchors Rene Knott and Alexandra Corey on the next morning’s newscast. “He was thought to be a potential national figure, has gotten a lot of support from people around the country and seems to be in reasonable shape with the people of Missouri at this point with some glitches here and there. This is potentially a setback, and if the allegations wind up having evidence behind them, it will be a pretty big setback.”
He corresponded with the Springfield News-Leader about the significance of the social moment in which the news came out.
“The best test of the impact of the #MeToo movement,” he wrote in an email interview with the paper, is “the accusation that he threatened the woman involved if she exposed him.”
“The governor denies it, and right now it is his word against her and her former husband,” Robertson continued. “In a case like this, Americans are more skeptical of the denier. Fair or unfair, the #MeToo movement undoubtedly has reduced the number of people willing to give Gov. Greitens the benefit of the doubt, because it seems common for public figures to deny the first allegations.”
Both Robertson and his colleague Kimball both have also noted the political context where Greitens sits after getting elected as an outsider to Jefferson City.
“This is why a governor needs relations with a general assembly in times like this,” Kimball told KMOV (Channel 4). “We know Gov. Greitens is not on best of terms with Republicans in the legislature, and it’s problematic for him in times like this.”
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