JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Missouri Governor Eric Greitens dodged reporters and got choked up in his first public appearance since leaving a St. Louis courthouse Monday.
Greitens ignored reporters while hugging supporters in the Carnahan Memorial Garden next to the Governor’s Mansion.
As a light rain fell, the governor announced the release of $4 million in long-delayed state funding for Missouri businesses that create biodiesel fuel from soybeans.
Near the end of his remarks, he veered off topic, recalling his Navy Seal Team military training. His voice cracked as he drew a parallel to his legal troubles and possible impeachment.
An invasion of privacy felony charge over a partially nude non-consensual photo he allegedly took of a former mistress was dropped Monday. Another felony charge is pending for his alleged use of a donor list from the military charity he founded, The Mission Continues, to raise money for his campaign for governor.
“No matter what they throw at me, no matter how painful they try to make it, no matter how much suffering they want to put me and my family through, and my team through; when I look to my left, I see you,” Greitens told the crowd of about 100 people.
“I am telling you this,” the governor said, “we are going to step forward day after day after day, and we are going to continue in our mission to fight for the people of Missouri.”
Afterward, as soybean producers were trying to arrange a photo with the governor, he shook hands with 4H members on the stage, then abruptly turned and left. His staff and security scrambled to catch up.
Greitens dodged reporters and their questions but the emotion he showed struck a chord with his supporters.
“He’s stood strong, stood firm when a lot of us just would have backed down and said we just can’t take anymore,” said Cathy Jo Loy of Joplin. “He’s done what we’ve sent him to do and I’m excited about that.”
“I like his integrity. He’s got a good heart. He’s got a good mind. He’s got a good plan…I’m standing with him,” said Dennis Sweet of Park Hills.
The governor may not be able to dodge the questions for too much longer. The special session of the Missouri Legislature to consider the possibility of impeaching him starts right Friday night, May 18, at 6:30 p.m.