Newsweek reaches out to serial child molester for comment on congressional gridlock

Things have got to be going Pretty Fucking Bad in the federal government when media organizations are reaching out to admitted child molesters to help explain why our elected representatives can’t seem to work together to get anything done. Who am I kidding? Of course it’s bad! It’s 2017!

Still, wow. Really had to pinch myself when I saw this Newsweek story float across my Twitter feed Thursday, as evidenced by my quoted reaction.

For those who blithely skated by without paying attention to politics before last November’s cataclysm and the subsequent Resistance™, that man on the left standing next to George W. Bush is former Illinois Representative Dennis Hastert, who served as Speaker of the House from 1999 to 2007, making him the longest serving Republican house speaker in U.S. history. He’s also an admitted sexual abuser of children.

In 2015, Hastert pleaded guilty to structuring bank withdrawals to avoid reporting requirements to pay off victims he had molested decades earlier while serving as their high school wrestling coach. Despite admitting to molesting four boys, who were as young as 14 at the time of the abuse, Hastert only was convicted for the felony structuring charge, as the statute of limitations had run out on the abuse crimes. He served 13 months in prison, and was released this June.

On Thursday, Newsweek published a piece on the new book “One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported,” one of which’s theses is that the current disfunction in Congress is the result of two former House speakers: Newt Gingrich and Hastert. The magazine couldn’t reach Gingrich for comment, so apparently they thought, Hey, let’s get the abusive pedophile on the line! He’s probably not up to anything!

Hastert’s crimes are not mentioned until three-quarters of the way into the piece; and, even then, seemingly as an aside to explain his statement that he “hasn’t spoken to the media in two years and was therefore rusty in his jousting with journalists.” It then immediately pivots into Hastert’s time in Congress, and whether he accepts blame for turning the Republican Party into an obstructionist one.

Glaringly omitted are questions as to whether or not Hastert accepts blame for all of the child abuse. Spoiler alert: He doesn’t. Hastert’s currently fighting a lawsuit filed by one of his victims, who is seeking a remaining $1.8 million in hush money that was promised to him by the serial child molester. Hastert says the victim violated the terms of their agreement by speaking to federal authorities about the sexual abuse. The only apology Hastert has ever offered came during his trial, when he said he was sorry for “mistreating athletes.”

Newsweek, I understand this was an article about Congress, not unrepentant serial child abusers, but — no wait. This article is literally about an unrepentant serial child abuser. Raping kids really isn’t one of those things you can gloss over to get some good pull quotes. Jesus.

[photo: Getty]