In this 2005 frame from the infamous Access Hollywood video, Donald Trump stands with host Billy Bush (left) as he prepares for an appearance on ‘Days of Our Lives’ with actress Arianne Zucker (right). Just moments before, Trump has told Bush he can do whatever he wants to beautiful women because of his fame. (Screenshot: via The Washington Post obtained video)
By Jon Queally / 11.18.2017
As the floodgates have certainly opened in positive ways over recent weeks in terms of women feeling more empowered and secure in speaking publicly about the men—often those in positions of power—who have sexually assaulted or harassed them over the years, the wave of revelations have also brought re-newed focus on the previous and numerous accusations levied against the nation’s most powerful man: President Donald J. Trump.
While an infamous recording released during last year’s campaign in which Trump openly talked about how he used his wealth and fame to prey on women, the shifting national conversation about sexual misconduct—and the “hypocritical” way in which Trump injected himself into that conversation this week—has led many to argue that the numerous women who have already publicly accused Trump of sexual assault or harassment should be given further and renewed hearing.
Offering a stitched video montage of multiple women recounting how Trump sexually assaulted them over the years, MSNBC‘s Chris Hayes on Friday night said, “A reminder that at least 15 women have accused Donald Trump on the record of unwanted physical contact. Listen for the patterns in their stories.” Watch the clip:
— All In w/Chris Hayes (@allinwithchris) November 18, 2017
During the full segment in which the montage appeared, Hayes slammed comments made Friday by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders who argued that Trump’s past behavior—unlike that of Sen. Al Franken’s, who Trump criticized this week as “really bad”—is not an issue because the president never admitted guilt and has always denied the allegations made against him. That stance, argued Hayes, doesn’t hold water given what Trump was heard openly admitting in the infamous Access Hollywood tape that emerged during the campaign.
“The President has admitted to wrongdoing,” Hayes said. “He has, we’ve all heard it. Because he bragged to Billy Bush about getting away with exactly, precisely the kind of behavior Franken is accused of and worse.” Watch:
Journalist Gideon Lichfield, writing for Quartz on Saturday, says there’s “one man in America who continues to be ‘safe’ from sexual harassment allegations.” And that man is Trump.
Nobody can deny the ground has shifted in America. Formerly invincible men are tumbling one by one as victims come out with their stories of sexual assault. Some, like Harvey Weinstein, were already fading from power, but others, like Louis CK, were still at the height of it.
Yet one man continues to defy America’s new moral norm: its president. Seventeen women have accused Donald Trump of sexual harassment. Their claims are more numerous and no less credible than those against Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for senator in Alabama. Senate leader Mitch McConnell said this week, “I believe the women” who accused Moore, and that he “should step aside.” But asked if he believes the women who accused Trump, McConnell refused to answer. (Trump’s position: Every one of those 17 women is lying.)
And so, Lichfield laments, “Yes, the ground has shifted, but some still stand high enough on it to escape the cold, swirling waters of justice. In other words, it’s still, in the end, about power. Trump’s power is that the party still needs him (or believes it does). That means it will blatantly ignore accusations that would put any other man on the street, if not in jail.”