Donald Trump lamented this week about the plight of men during the #MeToo era, saying the current climate is a “very scary time for young men in America” as they are presumed guilty with just an accusation of sexual assault.
That is a very different stance than more than a decade ago, when Trump himself took out a full-page ad calling for the execution of a group of black teens wrongly accused of rape.
As CNN noted, Trump this week offered his thoughts about the effect the #MeToo movement has had on society. The president had defended Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after he faced several allegations of sexual assault, with Trump painting the accusations as false and part of a politically motivated witch hunt against Kavanaugh.
Donald Trump said he believes the issue extends far beyond Brett Kavanaugh.
“It is a very scary time for young men in America, where you can be guilty of something you may not be guilty of,” Trump said. “This is a very, very — this is a very difficult time. What’s happening here has much more to do than even the appointment of a Supreme Court justice.”
Trump added that he believes the #MeToo era has erased the presumption of innocence for people accused of sexual assault.
“It’s a very scary situation where you’re guilty until proven innocent. My whole life I’ve heard you’re innocent until proven guilty, but now you’re guilty until proven innocent. That is a very, very difficult standard,” Trump told reporters. “You could be somebody that was perfect your entire life and somebody could accuse you of something.”
But Donald Trump took a very different view when it was a group of black and Latino teens accused of rape in 1989. The case involved a white jogger who claimed she was raped by a group of black teens, and New York police arrested five teenagers — four black and one Latino — and coerced them to confess under intense questioning. All five men would later be cleared by DNA evidence and from a 2002 confession from another man who admitted that he committed the rape alone.
Donald Trump just doesn’t get what many women and girls go through on a daily basis. The #MeToo movement is not a “scary time for young men” - it's about holding men accountable for sexual assault and sexual harassment. And it’s been a long time coming.https://t.co/G09N0pHo3Y— Rich Cordray (@RichCordray) October 3, 2018
As NBC News noted, Donald Trump was among the loudest voices calling for justice against the teens, even taking out a full-page ad calling for New York to reinstate the death penalty in response to the case. Trump continued to call for justice even after the men were released from prison, saying he believed they were guilty because they confessed.