Scott Fitzgerald once said “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” If so, Republican Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania is a certifiable genius. However, in this case, Murphy’s two opposing views have cost him his seat in Congress. Murphy, who has run on a pro-life platform in securing eight terms in Congress, has struggled to explain emails where he asked his mistress to get an abortion. He has now announced his retirement from Congress to “take personal time.” The story is credited to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Murphy drew the ire of his former mistress, Shannon Edwards, a forensic psychologist in Pittsburgh, when he posted his pro-life messages on his website. He posted the following statement:
“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.”
Murphy told voters that he sponsored a bill prohibiting the use of federal funds to pay for abortions and that he hoped that “we will once again be a nation committed to honoring life from the moment of conception and ensuring American taxpayer dollars are never spent to end a life before it even begins.”
Edwards was livid and sent him a January text that read:
“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.”
Murphy responded with a text that made it sound like his pro-life position through the years was just so much political posturing by his staff: “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.”
These communications were first disclosed in a divorce proceeding by the husband of Murphy’s mistress. Dr. Jesse Sally, a sports medicine physician, demanded to depose Murphy as part of the divorce.
Dr. Sally filed for divorce from Ms. Edwards in July 2016. Then, this past summer, his attorney filed a request with the courts to depose Mr. Murphy as part of that court action.
The statements from Murphy are in sharp contrast to his past pro-life statements that made him a favorite of the Family Research Council and secured the endorsement of LifePAC, which opposes abortion rights. He is also a member of the House Pro-Life Caucus.
In addition, the newspaper found a six-page memo to Mr. Murphy reportedly from his his chief of staff, Susan Mosychuk, who criticized Murphy for repeatedly trashing employees and maintaining a state of “terror”. If the allegations are true, Murphy is not only a hypocrite but a truly, truly horrible boss and person.
The memo was titled “Office Conduct and Behavior: Harassment/Legal Compliance,” and alleged an “ongoing and ever more pronounced pattern of sustained inappropriate behavior” by Murphy leading to “abysmal office morale.” It also detailed the difficulty in hiring or retaining people due to Murphy’s “hostile, erratic, unstable, angry, aggressive and abusive behavior.”
What is astonishing is that the memo says that Murphy had a 100 percent turnover of staff in just one year as Murphy burned through over 100 employees. The memo describes truly tyrannical behavior by Murphy and even discusses his “dangerous and erratic” behavior while reading his iPad and watching YouTube videos.
The tantrums associated with Murphy are ironic given his publications as a psychologist and an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh. He co-wrote The Angry Child: Regaining Control When Your Child Is Out of Control (2002) as well as Overcoming Passive-Aggression: How to Stop Hidden Anger from Spoiling Your Relationships, Career, and Happiness (2005).