NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump sailed past a raft of allegations of sexual misconduct in final yr’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 conduct, and various Democratic lawmakers are demanding his resignation.
With every day seeming to carry new headlines that drive males from positions of energy, the motion to show sexual harassment has pressured 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 towards the Republican president and prompt 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 yr. 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 ladies, and for them to say, ‘Eh, we do not care,’ it damage,” 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 totally different. Let’s attempt once more.”
Holvey was one in every of 4 ladies to make her case towards Trump on Monday, each in an NBC interview after which in a information convention. Rachel Crooks, a former Trump Tower receptionist who mentioned the celeb businessman kissed her on the mouth in 2006 with out consent, known as for Congress to “put apart celebration affiliations and examine Trump’s historical past of sexual misconduct.”
“If they had been prepared to analyze Sen. Franken, it is solely honest 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 ladies. 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 aren’t apt to analyze Trump on sexual misconduct except there may be some type of connection to the continued Russia probe.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., mentioned Congress should not examine the allegations towards Trump.
“I do not assume 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 known as for Trump to step down.
“President Trump ought to resign,” New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand advised CNN on Monday. “These allegations are credible; they’re quite a few. I’ve heard these ladies’s testimony, and lots of of them are heartbreaking.”
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley have additionally known as on Trump to resign.
White House aides have warily watched the motion sweep Capitol Hill, opting to repeat rote denials about allegations towards the president. The president’s advisers had been surprised Sunday when one of many highest-ranking ladies within the Trump administration broke with the White House line and mentioned the accusers’ voices “needs to be heard.”
“They needs to 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 manner, they’ve each proper to talk up.”
Haley’s feedback infuriated the president, in line with two people who find themselves conversant in his views however who spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of they are not licensed to talk publicly about non-public conversations. Trump has grown increasingly offended in current days that the accusations towards him have resurfaced, telling associates that the fees are false and drawing parallels to the accusations dealing with Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.
Sixteen ladies have come ahead with a variety of accusations towards Trump, many after the discharge of the “Access Hollywood” tape final October wherein Trump was caught on an open microphone bragging about groping ladies. 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 record 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 indicate that Holvey was a contestant within the Miss USA pageant, not the Miss America pageant.