sarah palin
Sarah Palin (Screengrab).

Progressives have speculated about so-called "NeverTrumpers" Republicans at the Lincoln Project who left the GOP, particularly after a blistering 2021 New York Times report. One major beef that folks have with Steve Schmidt has been his role in a campaign that led to the rise of Sarah Palin.

But in a scorched-earth Twitter thread on Sunday, Schmidt went from his tell-all posts about Meghan McCain to telling the full story about how Palin was brought to the John McCain campaign in 2008. While Schmidt accepted full responsibility for his role, he noted that a lot of what was decided was ultimately Sen. McCain's.

Schmidt explained that after Meghan McCain called him "a pedophile," there were no longer going to be any secrets.

He also name-checked the man responsible for the vetting of Palin and specifically cited the lies that Palin told the campaign.

Calling it "the dumbest decision of my life," Schmidt began the thread. He named Rick Davis, who was a named partner in Paul Manafort's lobbying firm for almost a decade. McCain refused to allow Manafort the job of managing his campaign in 2008. According to a 2018 report from The Atlantic, however, Manafort tried to work through Davis, who was on the campaign and scored at least $1 million for Manafort for a kind of fundraising software that the staff "hated."

"The entire VP process, like everything else, was a mismanaged clusterf*ck," Schmidt recalled. "It was the domain of the man I layered, Manaforts business partner and Yanukovych/ Deripaska adviser Davis."

Ultimately, Davis had every campaign responsibility removed from him except vetting the vice-presidential options. After a "disastrous" meeting in Aspen and the disorganization of the campaign, Schmidt admitted that he said the following: "What about looking at Palin. She is the most popular Governor in America."

He explained he didn't know much about her and that she'd have to be "thoroughly vetted" just as Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty were.

"Rick said he would get the job done. The rest is history," wrote Schmidt. "John McCain walked into a room alone and picked Sarah Palin. I wasn’t there. He was the 72-year-old Senior Senator from Arizona and the presumptive nominee for President. He wasn’t my ward and he wasn’t in a conservatorship. He had agency and control. His decision was idiotic, reckless and historic."

He recalled Palin rolling up to McCain's property in Sedona, Arizona. McCain assumed that Schmidt and Davis were going to be part of the conversation with her, but Schmidt said that it should be just the two of them.

"I said it was his first Presidential decision and that he alone had to make the decision if she was qualified to take the Oath of Office," he wrote. "They went off and met alone. No one will ever have any knowledge about the inanities and nonsense that took place in the room that day."

He noted he's taken the heat for "14 years over this stupidity." But the reality of the decision is that it was McCain's. Had he known then what he learned after the RNC convention in Minneapolis, he said he would have tied himself to the bumper of the car to stop it.

He recalled that Palin outright lied to him and the others in the campaign about her political beliefs and philosophy.

"We focused primarily on her views around evolution. She lied and told us that her dad was a science teacher and she rejected creationism," he wrote. "This was a big thing to a bunch of us. It was simple really, if you believed that people and dinosaurs lived together —no go. It was called the [Mark] Salter principle. We talked about the realities of the campaign and asked her if she would agree to abide by a structure if asked to serve. She looked me in the eye and said yes to everything and broke every promise."

He noted that he refused to advocate for a specific candidate. He highlighted the downsides of all options. McCain was the one who said, "f*ck it, let's do it."

He also posted a video from the film "Game Changers," where Woody Harrelson played Schmidt. He noted that watching it at the time was wild and that it was almost word for word. The video shows Harrelson unleashing on the Palin character, played by Julianne Moore.

"Please. She is an absolutely degenerate liar," Schmidt said of Palin. "Pathological. Unfit. Unwell. She’s a quitter and a buffoon who has no business ever holding a position of public trust, ever. Not even as a crossing guard. Nothing."

See the clip below: