There seems to be a unique moment right now in America, in which a tide is coming in that we’ve never seen before on the scale it’s currently happening. Women across the country and indeed around the world are finding a voice and a platform to address unwanted advances and abuse at the hands of people who have preyed on them, often using power and influence to effectively silence them before.
That can never be seen as anything but a good thing. Unless, of course, you’re one of the people being accused of inappropriate behavior or even assault.
Being the focus of an investigation can really put a cramp in the style of, say, a movie producer, an actor, a professor, or even a politician. Make that especially a politician. As we’ve seen in recent weeks, even accusations that aren’t fully investigated have prompted some prominent lawmakers to step down, because even the appearance of impropriety renders the effectiveness and credibility of their position untenable.
But what if that lens is pointed at the President of the United States?
Much of the resistance to the election of Donald Trump prior to November of last year stemmed from not just his own admission of having sexually assaulted women in the past, but from actual allegations against him by multiple women. Since he was inaugurated, that number has only grown. And while other powerful men have seen their careers end, their marriages crumble, and any number of deserving fates befall them, Trump has seemed untouchable.
But because of the #MeToo movement, that may not be the case much longer.
Trump’s accusers, now numbering nearly twenty, have become increasingly public with their statements, and a handful of them, accompanied by a compilation video of many more, held a press conference Monday to address the accusations again and call for a Congressional investigation into their claims. Through it all, Trump has denied everything. He’s had help, too. In a press conference, Trump’s press secretary was asked:
You said he has denied [the accusations]. Can you say whether or not they are false?”
Question on accusations of sexual misconduct against Trump: “You said he has denied them. Can you say whether or not they are false?”
Sarah Sanders: “I’m not going to respond.” pic.twitter.com/BTOvF82yQ1
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) December 11, 2017
She could not.
But despite having a number of loyalists in his employ at the White House who will deny the allegations alongside him and even act as proxies for his credibility — Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Monday that she has empathy for victims, but has never been harassed herself — not everyone who works for Trump is an obedient little lapdog.
That was the case on Sunday with Trump’s Ambassador to the United Nations, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.
In an interview with Face The Nation‘s John Dickerson, Haley said:
They should be heard and they should be dealt with. And I think we heard from them prior to the election. And I think any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way, they have every right to speak up.”
According to a Monday report from the Associated Press, two sources close to the president said he hit the roof:
Haley’s comments infuriated the president, according to two people who are familiar with his views but who spoke on condition of anonymity because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly about private conversations. Trump has grown increasingly angry in recent days that the accusations against him have resurfaced, telling associates that the charges are false and drawing parallels to the accusations facing Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.”
THAT is who Trump is lumping himself in with — the accused pedophile whose fate in government will be decided on Tuesday.
Keep on doing that, Mr. President. You only make yourself look worse.
Featured image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images