It’s a sign, I hope: Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year for 2017 is feminism, selected because of the frequency of lookups at the once-upon-a-dictionary’s website.
On Monday, three of the nineteen women who have accused President Trump of sexual harassment and assault detailed their accounts of being groped, fondled and forcibly kissed at a news conference. (Depending on which news account you’ve read, the number of accusers varies from 13 to 19.)
Rachel Crooks, Jessica Leeds, and Samantha Holvey said they were speaking up again because of the current climate that has emboldened women to speak up about sexual misconduct.
As the women spoke in New York, nonprofit filmmaker Brave New Films introduced a video featuring 16 of Trump’s accusers, saying he kissed them without permission, grabbed their private parts, put his hand up their skirts, or made other unwanted advances.
“It was heartbreaking last year. We’re private citizens and for us to put ourselves out there to try and show America who this man is and how he views women, and for them to say, ‘Eh, we don’t care,’ it hurt,” said Samantha Holvey, according to the Associated Press.
The President, unable to restrain himself when he sees his name in headlines, lashed out via Twitter on Tuesday morning, saying he was the target of “false accusations and fabricated stories of women who I don’t know and/or have never met,” adding [the Democrats had been] “unable to show any collusion with Russia” and were “moving on” to these allegations. He then finished the tweet with: “FAKE NEWS!”
Earlier, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters the president “has addressed these accusations directly and denied all of these allegations.
“This took place long before he was elected to be president and the people of this country had a decisive election, supported President Trump,” Sanders said. “We feel like these allegations have been answered through that process.”
She promised to produce a list of eyewitnesses exonerating the President from allegations of sexual harassment and assault.
Here’s Judd Legum, reporting on the White House follow up to that promise:
Sanders sent the list of supposed eyewitnesses to ThinkProgress late Monday night. It contains the names of three people, as well as references to previously published reports regarding those people…
…So the White House’s list of “eyewitnesses” consists of two women who don’t even claim to be eyewitnesses and a British man with an incredible story and a documented history of deception. The White House is suggesting that these “eyewitnesses” mean the claims of more than 14 women are “totally disputed.”
The list of women making allegations against the President, according to Matt Ford at the Atlantic, is:
Kristin Anderson, Mariah Billado, Lisa Boyne, Rachel Crooks, Tasha Dixon, Jessica Drake, Jill Harth, Cathy Heller, Samantha Holvey, Ninni Laaksonen, Jessica Leeds, Melinda McGillivray, Cassandra Searles, Natasha Stoynoff, Bridget Sullivan, Temple Taggart, Ivana Trump, Karena Virginia, and Summer Zervos.
Each name includes a link to the news account describing their encounters with Donald Trump.
Although Senators Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, and Jeff Merkley all made comments suggesting the President should resign in light the women who’ve him of sexual misconduct, it was Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s comment that drew Trump’s ire.
The Democratic Senator from New York wrote, “President Trump should resign. But, of course, he won’t hold himself accountable. Therefore, Congress should investigate the multiple sexual harassment and assault allegations against him.”
Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck Schumer and someone who would come to my office “begging” for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2017
Sen. Gillibrand responded to the Tweet:
“It was a sexist smear attempting to silence my voice, and I will not be silenced on this issue; neither will the women who stood up to the president yesterday.”
Fifty-six women Democratic lawmakers have asked the House oversight committee to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against President Donald Trump.
In a letter to committee chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy and ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings, the Democratic Women’s Working Group said the country deserves “a full inquiry into the truth of these allegations.”
“At least 17 women have publicly accused the President of sexual misconduct. We cannot ignore the multitude of women who have come forward with accusations.”
But the day wasn’t over. Trump got some unexpected news from within the administration.
Trump opened the floodgates of accusations against him during the 2016 campaign when he downplayed the release of a 2005 “Access Hollywood” video that showed him saying he was able to “grab them by the p**sy” because he was famous.
Trump downplayed his remarks as nothing more than “locker room talk” at the second presidential debate and said he never kissed or groped women without consent.
But not all those close to the President have been so dismissive.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Sunday that women who accuse a man of inappropriate sexual behavior — including Trump — “should be heard.”
The President was reportedly angry about that remark. From the Associated Press:
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.
In other news, Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin is calling for protections to be put in place for teens serving as interns in Congress. From the Huffington Post:
The congresswoman asked the Senate Sergeant at Arms in a letter on Monday to “take steps to prepare the Page Program for the possible election of Roy Moore,” the Alabama Republican accused of pursuing sexual relationships with girls as young as 14. The 30 Senate pages, who are essentially interns, are mostly rising high school juniors and seniors, some as young as 16.
“I write you today to share my urgent concern regarding the threat to the safety of the young men and women working in the United States Senate Page Program if Roy Moore becomes the U.S. senator to Alabama,” Rep. Moore wrote.
Finally, a bit of really good news, via Axios:
As of December 7 there were 369 women running or planning to run for Congress in 2018, according to Rutgers University’s Center for American Women and Politics, which would be the most women House candidates ever. The number is subject to change, as the filing deadlines for most states are months away.
One reason: Following President Trump’s election, and particularly since the Women’s March, women have been more “energized” and “driven to get involved,” per the the New York Times. Another factor is the sexual harassment awakening that has taken the country by storm over the last several months, and involved the president as well as several male members of Congress.
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