Amid sexting scandal, Republican leaders hold fire while praising Diehl’s exit

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Leaders of the Missouri Republican Party on Thursday offered praise for House Speaker John Diehl’s tenure as a state representative, while commending his decision to step down following revelations that he had exchanged sexually laced texts with a 19-year-old Capitol intern.

“Speaker Diehl was an effective leader with significant accomplishments for our state. He made a mistake, and has apologized. He made the right decision today. I wish John the best as he and his family work through this,” said U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, the state’s highest ranking Republican elected official.

Jonathon Prouty, executive director of the Missouri Republican Party, said: “We commend John Diehl for doing the right thing during this troubling time, and we look forward to working with the next Speaker to continue building upon our conservative legislative accomplishments and moving our state forward.”

Across the aisle, the responses were more pointed.

“Missourians deserve elected officials who reflect their values and comport themselves to the highest standards of integrity. Rep. John Diehl’s resignation from the position of speaker and state representative is an appropriate and necessary step,” said Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. “Our thoughts go out to the families who have been affected by the speaker’s conduct.”

Roy Temple, chairman of the Missouri Democratic Party, who noted that he was “the father of two daughters,” said he “was deeply troubled by the information that came to light yesterday. Speaker Diehl’s actions and misconduct have failed this state and the citizens of Missouri deserve a higher standard of leadership.”

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