Herschel Walker Staffer: Matt Schlapp ‘groped’ my crotch

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An aide to Herschel Walker’s senate campaign has alleged to The Daily Beast that longtime Republican activist Matt Schlapp engaged in “prolonged and unwanted and unsolicited” sexual contact with him while the aide drove Schlapp back from an Atlanta bar in October.

The staffer said the incident occurred on the night of Oct. 19, when Schlapp, president of the American Conservative Union and chief organizer of the influential Conservative Political Action Conference, “felt” and “stroke” his crotch in his car against his will after the buy from he drinks in two different bars.

The staffer described Schlapp, who had traveled to Georgia for a Walker campaign event, as inappropriately and repeatedly invading his personal space at the bars. He said he was also well aware of his “power dynamic” with Schlapp, widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in national conservative politics.

Schlapp, the employee recalled, said he had wanted to spend the evening discussing the employee’s professional future.

“It was a public space and I thought he got the hint. I didn’t want to embarrass him,” he said. “But it escalated.”

We are withholding the staffer’s name at his request, citing concerns about drawing attention to himself as he begins his first weeks in a new job in Republican politics. He said he would come forward with his real name if Schlapp denied his claims.

In a statement to The Daily Beast, Schlapp lawyer Charlie Spies called the allegations an “attack” and said Schlapp “denies any improper conduct”.

“This now appears to be the twelfth Daily Beast piece featuring personal attacks on Matt Schlapp and his family. The attack is false and Mr. Schlapp denies any inappropriate conduct. We are evaluating legal options to respond,” the statement said.

The staffer, in his late thirties, recalled that as he drove Schlapp back to the hotel, Schlapp put his hand on his leg, then reached out and “caressed” his crotch for a long time while he was frozen in shock, calling it ” scars”. and “humiliating”. When they got to the hotel, the employee said that Schlapp had invited him to his room. The employee said he refused and left “as soon as I could.”

He informed the campaign of the incident the following morning.

When the staffer got home that night, he received a call from Schlapp — shortly after midnight, according to call records the staffer shared with The Daily Beast — confirming that the staffer would still be driving him to an event in Macon the next day. The employee described the call as “brief and superficial,” but after confirming he would drive him, the employee “broke down.” He then recorded a series of tearful video accounts of the evening, which he shared with The Daily Beast and two people close to him, including the staffer’s wife.

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“What’s wrong with me? Is this okay?” he said in one of the videos. “I don’t know what I’ve done. It’s very sad that this is okay.”

In another video, the staffer recounted the events “regarding Matthew Schlapp, chairman of CPAC, who about two hours ago laid his hands on me in a persistent and unsolicited and unwanted manner.”

“The CPAC’s Matt Schlapp grabbed my crap and banged it for a long time, and I’m sitting there thinking what the heck is going on, that this person is literally doing this to me,” the staffer said in the video.

“From the bar to the Hilton Garden Inn, he’s got me covered. And I feel so damn dirty. I feel so damn gross,” he said.

“I’m supposed to pick this son of a bitch up in the morning and pretend nothing happened. This is what I’m dealing with,” the staffer continued. “This is what I have to do.”

The staffer’s communications with the campaign the following day, along with further exchanges with Schlapp, were documented in call logs and text messages, which the staffer shared with The Daily Beast, as detailed below.

At 7:26 a.m., Schlapp sent a text saying, “I’m in the lobby.” A minute later, the staffer called his supervisor, followed by a call to a senior campaign official. The staffer said the senior official was “immediately horrified” and removed him from the driving duty, instructing him to tell Schlapp in writing that he had made him feel uncomfortable.

Immediately after that call, the employee sent Schlapp a text message.

“I did want to say that I was not comfortable with what happened last night. The campaign does have a driver available to take you to Macon and back to the airport,” he texted, giving the driver’s name and phone number.

“Please call me,” Schlapp replied, followed by “Thx.” Schlapp then called him three times in the next 20 minutes, according to phone records reviewed by The Daily Beast.

When the employee failed to answer or answer the calls, Schlapp sent another text, asking him to “look into your heart” and call back.

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“If you could see it in your heart to call me at the end of the day. I would appreciate it,” Schlapp texted at 12:12 p.m. “If not, I wish you the best of luck with the campaign and hope you keep up the good work.”

The staffer said he never called and has had no contact with Schlapp since that text. Schlapp, who has been married to conservative commentator and consultant Mercedes Schlapp since 2002, never asked the staffer what had made him uncomfortable.

In interviews, the staffer stressed that he felt “nothing but support” from Walker’s campaign officials during the ordeal, saying he never felt pressured and was given “complete autonomy” over how to proceed. Options include legal and therapeutic support, as well as filing charges.

But the staffer declined to take legal action at the time, telling The Daily Beast he was concerned that speaking out about Schlapp could have professional ramifications and jeopardize career progression. (The staffer had previously accompanied Mercedes Schlapp when she visited Wisconsin during the 2020 election.) He also said he felt a disclosure at the time would only exacerbate what he described as the “circus of scandal” surrounding Walker’s campaign , just weeks after the election. the election. However, he said he is still weighing his options, especially if Schlapp denies the allegations and does not resign from his position at the ACU.

A senior Walker official, authorized to speak on behalf of the campaign, confirmed the details of the campaign’s involvement as described by the staffer, noting that the campaign prompted a meeting between the staffer and legal counsel.

It is not clear whether Walker himself was aware of the allegations. He did not respond to a request for comment.

A senior campaign official told The Daily Beast that the campaign lost contact with Schlapp after the incident and did not believe Schlapp was taking them against the private driver. The driver told The Daily Beast that he couldn’t remember Schlapp and couldn’t find a single passenger by that name in his customer logs.

Schlapp – a seasoned GOP operative whose decades in the upper echelons of the Republican Party have included appearances in Congress and the White House – has enormous influence in conservative politics. The organization he chairs, the ACU, hosts the annual CPAC events, magnets for die-hard conservative politicians who have been criticized in recent years as an increasingly hotbed for radicals within the party.

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The ACU has not responded to questions for this article.

While Schlapp has personally welcomed the LGBTQ community to the conference, CPAC has routinely been criticized for embracing anti-LGBTQ extremists.

In February 2015, the year Schlapp assumed his ACU leadership, the Log Cabin Republicans — an advocacy group for gay conservatives — complained that CPAC had blocked them as sponsors for the third consecutive year. A week later, Schlapp reversed that policy.

“If you’re a conservative who’s gay, you have a right to be here,” Schlapp said, adding that “doesn’t mean we’re watering down our principles.”

But given the kind of dudes and rhetoric that enjoys a warm home at CPAC — as the GOP itself increasingly embraces dangerous anti-LGBTQ rhetoric — gay rights advocates have dismissed the ACU’s outward efforts for inclusion as disingenuous and exploitative.

Schlapp, a devout Catholic, has personally criticized members of the far right for his acceptance of LGBTQ Republicans, while some conservatives have flatly denounced Schlapp’s nominal acceptance of the queer community as a betrayal of Christian conservative values.

Criticism flared last year when CPAC hosted an overseas conference in Hungary, whose president, Viktor Orbán, increasingly imposed oppressive restrictions on LGBTQ citizens. In August, Orbán came to CPAC in Dallas, where he expressed a “hardline stance on gay rights” and received a standing ovation.

Schlapp has also come under fire for his defense of alleged sexual abusers such as former President Donald Trump and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaughwho celebrated in December at the Schlapps’ home next to Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), the subject of a federal sex trafficking investigation.

But when it comes to sexual assault allegations against Democrats, Schlapp has not held his fire, repeatedly targeting President Joe Biden for a baseless allegation from the 1990s.

“With 5 daughters, I’d rather Biden sit a few doors down, not next door,” Schlapp said tweeted when those claims first surfaced in 2019.

At the time, Schlapp himself was working on a Senate bid. A year later, Schlapp had dropped the political ambitions, but not the mudslinging at Biden.

“Thinking back to the 1990s Senate: Was there a way for a female staffer who was a victim of sexual assault to receive fair treatment from an institution aimed at protecting senators from both parties,” he wrote on Twitter in 2020. “Biden highlighting that this event was 27 years ago is poor strategy.”