Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Trump Retake the Spotlight

As a swirl of sexual impropriety allegations roil Washington, President Donald Trump’s top aides are trying to inoculate him from comparisons with the stories of more than a dozen women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct.

But the allegations against Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken, who apologized after a California radio host and model said he had groped and kissed her without consent in 2006, and Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama who has been accused by multiple women of pursuing sexual relationships with them as teenagers when he was in his early 30s, have dredged up the allegations last year made against Trump, including the 2005 Access Hollywood tape in which Trump brags about sexually assaulting women.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Friday that there are no similarities between the Trump and Franken accusations.
Her reason: Trump never admitted wrongdoing and Franken did.
“This was covered pretty extensively during the campaign. We addressed it then,” Sanders said. “The American people spoke very loud and clear when they elected this President.”
Asked directly about how there could be a difference, Sanders said, “Senator Franken has admitted wrongdoing and the President hasn’t.”
The similarities, however, have created an awkward situation for those in the White House who are now left to defend accusations against Trump while supporting an investigation into the reports about Franken.
Marc Short, Trump’s top legislative aide, told CNN on Friday that Trump was saying there was a “level of hypocrisy” involving Franken given that the senator had condemned Moore and others. Short went on to defend Trump’s comments in the Access Hollywood tape, where Trump bragged about grabbing women.
“When you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump says on the recording, which was published during the 2016 election campaign. “You can do anything.”
At least 13 women have come forward to accuse Trump of sexual impropriety, allegations that range from sexual harassment and misconduct to sexual assault, including unwanted kissing and groping. All of the alleged incidents took place prior to his assuming the presidency.
Trump did little to help aides tasked with defending him when, on Thursday night, he tweeted about Franken.
“The Al Frankenstien picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words. Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps,” Trump tweeted. “And to think that just last week he was lecturing anyone who would listen about sexual harassment and respect for women. Lesley Stahl tape?”