On Monday morning, three of Donald Trump’s sexual misconduct accusers appeared at a press conference hosted by Brave New Films, as well as on the Today show in an interview with Megyn Kelly, to renew their claims, first made in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, that they were harassed or assaulted by the real estate mogul in the years before he became president. Later, the White House responded, as they have in the past, that the women are lying and that their claims are categorically untrue. The women hope that coming forward again, at the peak of the #MeToo movement, will lead to a congressional investigation that will help to uncover the truth.
Samantha Holvey, Jessica Leeds, and Rachel Crooks appeared both at the news conference and on Today to reiterate their claims that Trump had behaved improperly with them in instances ranging from walking in on women competing in the Miss Universe Pageant to groping another woman on a plane more than 30 years ago, according to a story in the Washington Post. The women said it was “heartbreaking” to see him elected president but, according to an article in Slate, have decided to come forward again in the hope that, in the wave of powerful men suffering real consequences in the wake of the #MeToo movement, America might be ready to listen to and believe them now.
The three women are just a small sample of the upwards of 16 women who came out with allegations against Trump after the now-infamous Access Hollywood tape was revealed, where the then-candidate was heard to say about women that he likes to “grab them by the p**sy.”
The White House, which has maintained all along that the president is innocent and that every one of his accusers is lying, responded, according to another story in the Washington Post, with a statement they believe exonerates him from wrongdoing.
“These false claims, totally disputed in most cases by eyewitness accounts, were addressed at length during last year’s campaign, and the American people voiced their judgment by delivering a decisive victory. The timing and absurdity of these false claims speaks volumes, and the publicity tour that has begun only further confirms the political motives behind them.”
Later, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders repeated the claim that Trump’s electoral college victory should have been enough to put the issue of his guilt or innocence to rest.
Naturally, Trump’s many critics on Twitter are far from convinced, with some coming out to slam the statements by Sanders and the White House as nonsensical and insulting to the women involved.
Sarah Huckabee-Sanders also said during her press briefing on Monday that the White House would soon be providing a list of eyewitnesses who could refute Trump’s accusers. Whether that was in reference to just the three women accusing him today or that they were ready to refute all 16 of women who have made allegations against the president is unclear. So far, though, no list of witnesses exonerating Trump has been produced.
The #MeToo movement has already led to the downfall of a number of men who were previously viewed as untouchable. New allegations are being made against extremely powerful and famous men every day. It remains to be seen if the movement has the strength and public backing to challenge a sitting president.