At Schweich Funeral John Danforth Rebukes “Hideously Wrong” Political Attack Ads (VIDEO)
Schweich shot himself after his opponents in the Missouri Republican Party released an awful ad calling him short and comparing him to Mayberry deputy Barney Fife.
Here’s that offensive radio ad:
Danforth commended Schweich for “being a role model for what a public servant should be.”
In a eulogy that doubled as a stunning rebuke of a top official in his own party, former U.S. Sen. John Danforth, R-Mo., declared Tuesday that “politics has gone so hideously wrong,” and implicitly blamed that tone for Missouri gubernatorial candidate Tom Schweich’s suicide last week.
“The death of Tom Schweich is the natural consequence of what politics has become,” said Danforth. “I believe deep in my heart that it’s now our duty, yours and mine, to turn politics into something much better than its now so miserable state.”
Speaking to a packed funeral gathering at the Church of St. Michael and St. George in Clayton, Danforth, an Episcopal priest, stepped squarely into a fight that has rocked the Missouri GOP and scrambled next year’s gubernatorial race following Schweich’s death last week.
“I last spoke with Tom this past Tuesday afternoon. He was indignant. He told me he was upset about two things, a radio commercial and a whispering campaign he said were being run against him,” Danforth said at the morning funeral service.
Schweich, newly elected to his second term as state auditor and one of two Republican front-runners for next year’s GOP gubernatorial nomination, died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head on Thursday morning in his Clayton home.
Minutes before his death, Schweich made phone calls setting up an interview for later in the day with reporters for the Post-Dispatch and the Associated Press. He had indicated he wanted to talk about a whispering campaign that he’d alleged was going on against him within the GOP.
In comments to others, Schweich had alleged that newly elected GOP state Chairman John Hancock had earlier told people, incorrectly, that Schweich was Jewish. Schweich alleged Hancock’s comments were part of an anti-Semitic smear campaign.
Hancock has said he may have mentioned his mistaken belief that Schweich was Jewish, but that it was innocent conversation.
After the funeral Tom Schweich;s chief of staff called on John Hancock to resign as Missouri Republican leader.