Donald Trump has largely remained neutral and silent regarding the allegations of sexual misconduct levied against Alabama Senate candidate (and former chief justice) Roy Moore since an explosive Washington Post report was released over a week ago. In the shocking expose, several women accused Moore of touching them in sexually inappropriate manners and/or pursuing them romantically decades ago, when Moore was in his 30s and his alleged victims in their teens.
Moore accuser Leigh Corfman was just 14-years-old when she claims that the then-32-year-old Moore touched her inappropriately in 1979. As ABC News reports, eight women have now come forward to accuse Roy Moore of sexual misconduct — and he’s not the only prominent politician to be accused of sexually inappropriate behavior in recent days and weeks. Just days ago, former comedian and Democratic Senator Al Franken was accused of groping and kissing a sleeping female reporter during a 2006 USO tour.
While Trump has limited his response to the Roy Moore drama to a suggestion via his press secretary that the Republican candidate “should” drop out of the Alabama Senate special election (scheduled for December 12) if the sexual misconduct allegations against him are true, the Twitter-loving president has shown no such restraint when it comes to criticizing Democrat Franken. Indeed, on Thursday night, Trump took to tweeting his not-so-nice thoughts about Al Franken and the claim that Minnesota politician touched and kissed broadcaster Leeann Tweeden without her consent.
As CNN reports, the “really bad” picture featuring “Al Frankenstien” has become widely circulated since the sexual misconduct allegations against the SNL alumni surfaced. It appears to show Al Franken groping a sleeping Leeann Tweeden, and, according to the broadcaster, she did not consent for Franken to touch her in such a manner over a decade ago.
In his second tweet, Trump is apparently referring to a joke Al Franken once made in the SNL writers’ room regarding the drugging and rape of reporter Lesley Stahl, an unfortunate incident that had already come back to haunt Franken when he ran for his Senate seat in 2008. At that time, he apologized for the bad humor.
Since the allegations of sexual misconduct against him went viral, Senator Franken has publicly apologized to his accuser and even openly claimed that he would “welcome” any ethics probe or other investigation into the matter that may be part of the inevitable fallout of the allegations and his subsequent apology. Despite his response to the situation, Trump has opted to turn his political critic’s public downfall into a social media circus with a series of derogatory, insulting and divisive tweets.
“I don’t know what was in my head when I took that picture, and it doesn’t matter. There’s no excuse. I look at it now and I feel disgusted with myself. It isn’t funny. It’s completely inappropriate….I am asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken, and I will gladly cooperate…”
When it comes to Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, however, Trump responded far less critically than he did to the Al Franken situation. Addressing the allegations against Moore while on his Asia tour and through the mouthpiece of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who remarked on his behalf, Trump seemed wary of believing a “mere allegation…from many years ago,” and the president certainly didn’t wish to allow such an allegation to “destroy a person’s life.”
“…like most Americans the president believes we cannot allow a mere allegation, in this case one from many years ago, to destroy a person’s life. However, the president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside.”
Despite his harsh words against Franken, Donald Trump continues to shy away from a harsh critique of Roy Moore, and has indeed opted to not comment further on the situation. On Thursday, the same day that Trump tweeted his mockery of Al Franken’s plight for the world to see, Sarah Huckabee Sanders once again responded to media queries regarding Trump’s stance on Moore and whether or not the embattled Republican should drop out of the Alabama Senate race. According to Sanders, Trump has already said his piece, and that it’s the “people of Alabama” who should decide Moore’s political future, not the president.
“The President said in his statement earlier this week that, if the allegations are true, then that Roy Moore should step aside. He still firmly believes that. This is a decision people of Alabama need to make, not the President.”
An unnamed Republican source claims that Trump has stayed mum regarding the Roy Moore allegations in an attempt to avoid discussing his own past issues regarding accusations of sexual misconduct/harassment. Now that he has spoken out so publicly against Al Franken, it is possible that Donald Trump may have unwittingly invited his critics to draw parallels to his own past behavior, says the source.
“He’s worried about the conversation moving to his past accusers.”
Contrary to the unnamed Republican source who spoke to CNN, Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway claims that the president never withheld comment on the Roy Moore scandal, but rather weighed in on both Moore and Al Franken when their respective sexual assault stories broke.
“Well, Al Franken was a brand new news story yesterday and the President weighed in as he does on the news of the day often enough. The Roy Moore story is eight days old and the President put out a statement on his Asia trip on that.”
[Featured Image by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Images]