If a public figure having an affair, don’t text

The sage advice contained in the title above is a lesson that the Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives probably wish he had heard before, given the scandal that has now engulfed his career.

John Diehl has admitted that he used his business cell phone to send sexually charged text messages to an intern.  That intern was a college freshman in an internship program that “abruptly shut down” last month.  That program was cancelled after an “unspecified incident” that the school in question, Missouri Southern, declined to discuss.

Diehl is married and has three children.

The exchanges, which can be viewed in full in an article at the Kansas City Star, were chalk full of sexual innuendo, though not blatant sexting.  Conversations included the Speaker saying “God I want you right now” and the intern replying “I wish you could have me right now”  It was also filled with compliments and playful emoji.

In a statement, Speaker Diehl admitted to the affair and apologized for his “poor judgement.”  He added:

“I take full responsibility for my actions and am truly sorry to those I let down. I apologize for the poor judgment I displayed that put me and those closest to me in this situation. I also regret that the woman has been dragged into this situation. The buck stops here. I ask for forgiveness. I will begin immediately working to restore the trust of those closest to me, and getting back to the important work that is required in the final days of session.”

It remains to be seen what ramifications, if any, this will have on the Speaker’s career.  However, some Representatives are calling for the Speaker to resign, and Democrats are circulating a petitions that would call for a vote that would remove the Speaker for the length of an investigation.

Forgetting the obvious moral implications, having an affair is always a risky move, to put it politely.  However, it’s clear that the Speaker did an exceptionally stupid things by putting evidence of his actions into writing.  Doing so was beyond risky: it was stupid, and he got caught.  As we have seen time and time again, never, ever give someone digital evidence of your personal or moral failings.

Tweets and Consequences

Like the blog?  Get the book!  Tweets and Consequences: 60 Social Media Disasters in Politics and How You Can Avoid A Career-Ending Mistake is now available on Amazon for purchase or download.

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