GOP Governor who campaigned heavily against same-sex marriage and LGBT rights
Caught on camera admitting infidelity, says he won’t resign
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, a Republican who campaigned heavily on “family values” and pledged to fight “tooth and nail” against same-sex marriage following the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision, says he won’t be resigning after admitting last week to having sexually suggestive conversations with his senior political adviser, Rebekah Mason, who is also married.
Bentley’s wife, Dianne, filed for divorce last year, after making personal recordings of her husband’s conversations, which were then made public by AL.com. The conversations date as far back as 2014.
While both Bentley and Mason have denied having a physical affair, the damage from the recordings seem to be enough to prompt lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to take action. Alabama state Rep. Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) told WHNT News 19 Wednesday that he would begin impeachment proceedings against Bentley next week, do to his “incompetence and moral turpitude.”
House Minority Leader Craig Ford, D-Gadsen, also confirmed his party’s support for impeachment, saying “over half” of the House would be in favor of removing Henry from office for his behaviors.
“We support it,” said Ford, “We look forward to working across party lines. We’re encouraged to see that someone within the Republican Party was taking the lead in this endeavor. The governor’s the Republican’s poster child, so we were hoping they would police their own party.”
Bentley, however, remains unmoved by the escalating rhetoric from his legislature, telling Alabamans at a news conference in Russellville that he won’t be resigning despite the allegations. “I have no intentions of resigning,” said Governor Bentley, “My intentions are to try to make this state better. My intentions are to try to work through all the difficulties that we’re going through.”
While many might not see the explicit exchanges between Bentley and Mason as being all too problematic, or simultaneously as irrelevant to the political sphere, it is precisely because of his self-righteously propagated image surrounding his staunch conservatism and Christian family values that have citizens and his fellow colleagues lambasting these blatant hypocrisies.
Prior to this scandal, Bentley’s governorship was far from controversy-free; in a 2011 speech he said he only considers Christians to be his “brothers and sisters.”
“Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother,” he said at the time.
Additionally, it was revealed in 2015 that he used money intended for the recovery from the 2010 BP oil spill to finance a second governor’s mansion on the Gulf Coast. The decision ironically and perhaps shamefully occurred simultaneously as storms battered his state over the Holiday season, leaving many to wonder why the excess funds leftover from the BP spill could not have been used to rebuild many of the homes damaged.
Bentley at the time said he would only stay there “on occasion” and that the property would be “primarily” for dinners with corporate executives considering investing in various state programs/infrastructure.
Ultimately, his precarious spending habits, bigotry towards LGBT persons, Christian-centered viewpoints were of little concern to his fellow conservatives; the sex scandal, however, found him directly in their cross-hairs.
“From the beginning of his second term he has done nothing but lie and deceive the people of Alabama and now we are seeing basically the fruits of that,” said state Rep Ed Henry as he called for Bentley’s resignation or impeachment, “If we are going to do anything for the next two years as far as economic development, bring in industry, being effective if you will, we will have to do it without Robert Bentley as the governor.”
On Tuesday, the state Ethics Commission said it would be investigating Mason and Bentley as a result of the “opaque nature of Mason’s role, coupled with the recent allegations of sexual impropriety.”
Mason resigned Wednesday from her post as Bentley’s adviser.