Photo via Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump awoke this morning to several new accusations of sexual assault and other improper behavior towards women, to go with the handful of previous allegations made against him (not to mention his own words in 2005). While Trump wants his voters not to give him the benefit of the doubt, he himself has been more than happy to mock other men who faced similar accusations.
Trump and his campaign have vigorously denied that he has ever sexually assaulted a woman, both during the second presidential debate (though he had to be directly asked by moderator Anderson Cooper about it multiple times first) and when asked for comment on those articles. Trump’s campaign also threatened to sue the New York Times for its article with stories from two women who said they were groped by Trump.
The accusations go back decades, demonstrating, if true, a pattern of predatory behavior from Trump. As it happens, Trump has been very vocal about other men who were accused of being sexual predators, and happy to believe and support their accusers despite, in some cases, having nothing more to go on than their word and, usually, the large number of women making those accusations.
Sometimes, those tweets seem to be born out of apparent concern for the women affected or, more likely, Trump’s eagerness to insert himself into a national conversation or a misguided attempt to reinforce a point he’d previously made (say, about immigrants from Mexico being rapists):Other times, the tweets are clear attempts to use women’s accusations for his own political gain, and sometimes run contrary to previously tweeted feelings about the person being accused, despite having the same evidence available at the time. Tell us more about Bill Clinton, Donald.
And then there’s Anthony Weiner, the disgraced New York politician and now-estranged husband of close Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin. Trump singled him out for particular vitriol, saying Weiner’s (multiple and admitted) sexts to women demonstrated that he was a serial predator and pervert, and on that basis should not hold public office.In 2013, Trump made it something of a personal mission to rally against Weiner and prostitute-enjoyer Eliot Spitzer as New York City mayoral and comptroller candidates, respectively, based entirely on their past sexual improprieties that he said should disqualify them for public office. When it came to Weiner, Trump was very worried about underage girls. Though he had not at the time been accused of sending sexts to underage girls (he did admit to exchanging messages with a 17-year-old girl in 2011, but said they were not inappropriate), Trump said they should be particularly cautious, even issuing a “pervert alert” on their behalf. In retrospect, Trump seems prescient: Nearly four years after that tweet, Weiner was accused of sexting a 15-year-old girl. He hasn’t quite confirmed nor denied this, simply saying he was “the subject of a hoax” but also admitting to “putting myself in this position.” Yet this may be a hollow victory for the presidential candidate: Speaking of 15-year-old girls, Trump was accused on Wednesday of walking in on Miss Teen USA pageant contestants while they were in the middle of getting dressed. Five contestants from the 1997 pageant recalled this, with one saying she was 15 at the time. (Other contestants denied that this happened.) Trump did not comment on that piece, but admitted to doing this when it came to his adult pageants in a 2005 interview with Howard Stern, as uncovered by CNN.
Now that Trump himself is in the same situation as these men, he has a very different take: Don’t believe the women even though there are so many of them, and multiple accusations of sexual impropriety won’t take him out of the running. Oh, and his own sexual prowess is, of course, perfectly fine for public discussion.Funny how that works.