NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump sailed past a raft of allegations of sexual misconduct in final 12 months’s presidential election.
Now the nationwide #MeToo spotlight is popping again to Trump and his past conduct. Several of his accusers are urging Congress to analyze his habits, and a variety of Democratic lawmakers are demanding his resignation.
With every day seeming to convey new headlines that power males from positions of energy, the motion to show sexual harassment has compelled an unwelcome dialog on the White House. In a heated change with reporters within the White House briefing room on Monday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders steadfastly dismissed accusations in opposition to the Republican president and advised the problem had already been litigated in Trump’s favor on Election Day.
But to Trump’s accusers, the rising #MeToo motion is an event to make sure he’s at final held accountable.
“It was heartbreaking final 12 months. We’re non-public residents and for us to place ourselves on the market to attempt to present America who this man is and the way he views girls, and for them to say, ‘Eh, we do not care,’ it harm,” Samantha Holvey mentioned Monday. The former magnificence queen claimed that Trump ogled her and different Miss USA pageant contestants of their dressing room in 2006.
“Let’s attempt spherical two,” she mentioned. “The atmosphere’s completely different. Let’s attempt once more.”
Holvey was certainly one of 4 girls to make her case in opposition to Trump on Monday, each in an NBC interview after which in a information convention. Rachel Crooks, a former Trump Tower receptionist who mentioned the superstar businessman kissed her on the mouth in 2006 with out consent, referred to as for Congress to “put apart social gathering affiliations and examine Trump’s historical past of sexual misconduct.”
“If they had been prepared to analyze Sen. Franken, it is solely truthful that they do the identical for Trump,” Crooks mentioned.
Franken, the Democratic senator from Minnesota, introduced final week that he would resign amid an ethics probe into accusations that he sexually harassed a number of girls. Reps. John Conyers, D-Mich., and Trent Franks, R-Ariz., additionally resigned after misconduct accusations.
But a Capitol Hill investigation into Trump’s conduct seems unlikely. The Senate and House Ethics Committees examine members of Congress, not presidents, and Republican-led committees usually are not apt to analyze Trump on sexual misconduct except there’s some form of connection to the continued Russia probe.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., mentioned Congress should not examine the allegations in opposition to Trump.
“I do not suppose there’s any discussion board for us to try this,” he mentioned. “Just take into consideration how that might be abused.”
Nonetheless, a number of Democratic senators have seized the second and referred to as for Trump to step down.
“President Trump ought to resign,” New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand informed CNN on Monday. “These allegations are credible; they’re quite a few. I’ve heard these girls’s testimony, and plenty of of them are heartbreaking.”
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley have additionally referred to as on Trump to resign.
White House aides have warily watched the motion sweep Capitol Hill, opting to repeat rote denials about allegations in opposition to the president. The president’s advisers had been shocked Sunday when one of many highest-ranking girls within the Trump administration broke with the White House line and mentioned the accusers’ voices “must be heard.”
“They must be heard, and they need to be handled,” Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, mentioned in a CBS interview. “And I believe we heard from them earlier than the election. And I believe any lady who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any means, they’ve each proper to talk up.”
Haley’s feedback infuriated the president, in response to two people who find themselves conversant in his views however who spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of they are not approved to talk publicly about non-public conversations. Trump has grown increasingly indignant in latest days that the accusations in opposition to him have resurfaced, telling associates that the costs are false and drawing parallels to the accusations going through Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.
Sixteen girls have come ahead with a variety of accusations in opposition to Trump, many after the discharge of the “Access Hollywood” tape final October by which Trump was caught on an open microphone bragging about groping girls. One lady, Summer Zevos, a contestant on Trump’s actuality present, “The Apprentice,” sued, contending that Trump’s denials of her accusations quantity to false and defamatory statements.
Jessica Leeds, who appeared at Monday’s information convention, recalled sitting on an airplane subsequent to Trump within the 1970s when he started to fondle her.
“All of a sudden, he is throughout me. Kissing and groping, groping and kissing,” she mentioned. “Nothing was mentioned. It was simply this silent groping happening.”
Trump denied the allegations throughout the marketing campaign, and Sanders did the identical Monday.
“Look, because the president mentioned himself, he thinks it is a good factor that girls are coming ahead, however he additionally feels strongly that a mere allegation should not decide the course,” Sanders mentioned. “And once more, the American folks knew this and voted for the president. And we really feel like we’re prepared to maneuver ahead in that course of.”
Sanders declined to say whether or not she believed the accusers or if she herself had been the sufferer of harassment. She grew impatient with the repeated questions and pledged to supply a listing of eyewitnesses whose accounts exonerated the president.
The White House didn’t present the checklist by late Monday.
Associated Press writers Zeke Miller and Richard Lardner contributed to this report from Washington.
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This story has been corrected to point out that Holvey was a contestant within the Miss USA pageant, not the Miss America pageant.