A man arrested on Sunday for allegedly groping a female passenger on a plane tried to defend his actions to authorities, stating that Trump said: “It’s OK to grab women by their private parts.”
According to the FBI affidavit, an unidentified woman who was sitting in front of Alexander felt a hand reach from behind and grab her right breast about 15 to 20 minutes after she fell asleep. She initially brushed it off as an accident, but it happened again 30 minutes later. This time the hand squeezed her elbow, then groped around her ribs and breast. According to the criminal complaint, she then stood up, told the man she didn’t know why he thought it was OK to touch her, and asked to be moved to a different seat. Southwest employees contacted law enforcement, and they were ready and waiting for the man when the flight landed in Albuquerque. He was arrested on the spot.
The man was identified by authorities as 49-year-old Bruce Michael Alexander. After being handcuffed and placed in a police vehicle, the FBI agent who interviewed him said he cited Trump to defend his sexual misconduct.
Alexander was likely referencing the 2005 tape from Access Hollywood that leaked weeks before the presidential election. The tape captured Trump making lewd comments about grabbing and touching women, including his instructions to “grab them by the pussy.”
“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful, I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything,” Trump said on the tape.
People are rightfully angered by Alexander’s defense, but also by the environment that has been created by the president bragging about grabbing women without their consent.
However, authorities weren’t so convinced by Alexander’s excuse. He remains in custody, with his preliminary hearing scheduled for today. If he is convicted, he could face up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
H/T BuzzFeed News