As powerful men in Hollywood, the media, and politics are named for alleged sexual abuse in the wake of #MeToo, some have forgotten that the country’s top politician, president Trump, has been repeatedly accused of sexual harassment and assault by a total of 19 women, five of whom were Miss Teen USA contestants between the ages of 15 and 19 at the time of the alleged misconduct. Women who say Trump abused them continued to speak out this week, and Democrat women in Congress are now asking for an official investigation into the claims. Naturally, the president seems furious about it.
While #MeToo began by exposing disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and other men in show business, it didn’t take long for the spotlight to shine on politics. Just last week Democratic senator from Minnesota Al Franken stepped down after being accused of and apologizing for several instances of sexual misconduct. Multiple women have also come forward and accused Republican Alabama senate contender Roy Moore of preying on them when they were underage. The new burst of mainstream attention to sexual abuse against women by men in power has also shifted the conversation back to Trump, who may soon face an investigation regarding the claims against him.
On Monday, three women — Samantha Holvey, a 2006 Miss America pageant contestant who says Trump walked into the contestants’ dressing room, Jessica Leeds, who alleges Trump groped her on an airplane in the 70’s, and Rachel Crooks, a former receptionist at Trump Tower who says Trump kissed her in an elevator bank in 2005 — spoke with Megyn Kelly on Megyn Kelly TODAY about their experiences. Holvey said it was “heartbreaking” to see Trump win the presidency, despite the fact that she and others had been vocal about the president’s sexual misconduct during the election season.
Later on Monday, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, called on the president to resign because of the many claims of sexual lodged against him. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Oregon senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker joined Gillibrand in asking Trump to step down from the presidency. Now, more than 50 senators are seeking an investigation into the sexual abuse allegations.
Members of the Democratic Women’s Working Group wrote a letter to the leaders of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform saying, “The American people deserve a full inquiry into the truth of these allegations.”
The letter notes that at least 17 women have come forward to say that the president was sexually inappropriate to them, adding that various recordings of Trump prior to his presidency (including the infamous Access Hollywood “grab ’em by the pussy” tape) appear to corroborate the allegations. The letter asks for the Committee to respond within 10 days.
Clearly catching wind of the news that the Working Group wants an investigation, Trump lashed out on Twitter Tuesday morning, calling the allegations (what else?) “fake news,” and insulting senator Gillibrand. Trump first suggested that a call for an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations is merely a ploy by Democrats to remove him from office; he also claimed he does not know the women speaking out against him.
The president then called Gillibrand a “lightweight” and a “flunky,” and made a reference to Hillary Clinton, saying she used to beg Trump for campaign donations “and would do anything for them.”
Gillibrand fired back at Trump, saying, “You cannot silence me or the millions of women who have gotten off the sidelines to speak out about the unfitness and shame you have brought to the Oval Office.” Other senators, including Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, came to Gillibrand’s defense on Twitter.
Much of the nation has begun to pay more attention to the sexual mistreatment of women in the wake of #MeToo, but clearly, there’s still much that needs to be reckoned with. Perhaps including a congressional investigation into the president’s alleged sexual abuse.
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(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty)