Republican Rep. Tim Murphy admitted to the affair with a friend in a statement released by his office last month. Today the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that when Murphy believed Shannon Edwards, the woman he’d had the affair with, was pregnant he urged her to have an abortion. This came to light in a text message exchange prompted by a pro-life statement the congressman published on Facebook in January. It read, “The United States is one of just seven countries worldwide that permits elective abortion more than halfway through pregnancy (beyond 20 weeks). It is a tragic shame that America is leading the world in discarding and disregarding the most vulnerable.” Ms. Edwards took offense at that sentiment:
A text message sent in January to U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy by a woman with whom he had an extra-marital relationship took him to task for an anti-abortion statement posted on Facebook from his office’s public account.
“And you have zero issue posting your pro-life stance all over the place when you had no issue asking me to abort our unborn child just last week when we thought that was one of the options,” Shannon Edwards, a forensic psychologist in Pittsburgh with whom the congressman admitted last month to having a relationship, wrote to Mr. Murphy on Jan. 25, in the midst of an unfounded pregnancy scare.
A text from Mr. Murphy’s cell phone number that same day in response says, “I get what you say about my March for life messages. I’ve never written them. Staff does them. I read them and winced. I told staff don’t write any more. I will.”
It turned out Edwards wasn’t pregnant and no abortion ever took place. Still, if you take a pro-life position in public it’s assumed you are prepared to take that same stance in private. Otherwise, you’re really just pro-choice and not willing to admit it.
As revealing as that may be the other information in the Post-Gazette story is perhaps worse for Rep. Murphy. A memo written by Murphy’s chief of staff on June 8, 2017 describes a history of abusive behavior by the congressman toward office staff. The picture it paints is not pretty. A sample:
You were storming around as we walked in, and as we sat down for prep — having just arrived literally moments ago — you started in on the [legislative director] and verbally abused him, harassed him, chastised him and criticized all his work products. You called many of the work products that he literally gave up his weekend to produce as ‘useless.’ You pushed other documents off the table onto the floor because they weren’t what you wanted. Then you got angry and demanded we find the documents that you had just thrown on the ground.
The memo goes on to say that the congressman’s behavior has led to almost 100% staff turnover in one year. When the chief of staff warned that this behavior could be deemed harassment and referred outside the office, Murphy apparently accused her of blackmailing him:
Should there not be immediate remedial action taken within the office to correct your behavior and engagement with staff, I am obliged to move to the next level of review which will be outside the office. You have inaccurately stated that I am blackmailing you. That is incorrect and another form of intimidation.
There’s a lot more in the memo, including Murphy’s driving through a rainstorm while texting on his iPad, all of which you can read at the Post-Gazette. This is about as bad as bad news can get for a politician. It’s both professionally and personally embarrassing.