Laura Bush says it was totally harmless. Two actresses who have accused her father-in-law, former President George H. W. Bush, of groping their backsides during photo-ops were mistaken about his intent.
“That was something that was very, very, innocent,” the former First Lady told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin today. Baldwin missed the obvious follow-up question. Would Laura Bush ever stand beside Bush 41’s wheelchair while a photo was being taken?
CNN never asks the tough questions.
The last person anyone expected to get caught up in the wave of sexual harassment allegations that have come to the forefront recently was the former president. When was the last time you remember anyone with the nickname “Poppy” grabbing a woman against her will?
The rumors had circulated for years about some of the others whose actions have been brought to light. From all of the testimonials to his bad character, it appears there were a few people in Hollywood who did not know what kind of things producer Harvey Weinstein would do behind closed doors.
Or take Bill O’Reilly. The former Fox News Channel anchor’s penchant for late night X-rated conversations was publicized years ago, but it finally took the change in the public’s attitude about sexual harassment and revelations about the millions of dollars in settlements paid out by 21st Century Fox to keep women quiet about O’Reilly’s sexual harassment to push O’Reilly out the door.
Perhaps the newly revealed character flaws in the one-term president shouldn’t have taken us by surprise. After all, the ’90s was the decade when the public first began to associate boorish sexual behavior with the man in the Oval Office.
Sometimes the sexual behavior even took place in the Oval Office, but that was Bill Clinton. He was a man of the ’60s. George H. W. Bush, on the other hand, is a man in his ’90s.
Still, it would be wrong to leap to conclusions about Bush 41’s behavior. Actress Heather Lind said Bush, while she stood beside his wheelchair for a photo-op, grabbed her bottom, told a dirty joke, then grabbed her bottom again.
Bush has yet to make a public comment, but his spokesman explained that the former president was not intentionally trying to harm Lind and apologized if “his attempt at humor offended” her.
It is always a bad sign when someone apologizes if someone else is offended, but does not apologize for the act itself. It doesn’t help when someone else steps forward and makes a nearly identical claim.
Actress Jordana Gralnick said Bush did the same thing to her while a photo was being taken backstage of a local production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame in Maine. Gralnick added more detail than Lind, revealing that while Bush’s hand was firmly on her backside, he told her his favorite magician was “David Cop-a-Feel.”
If Bush’s accusers are on the level, he’s guilty of sexual harassment bordering on assault and criminal abuse of a pun.
Bush’s spokesman provided an excuse for the former president’s behavior. His wheelchair puts him right at rear-level. Apparently, that means President Bush has to have someplace to put his hands and thankfully, sometimes there is an actress available.
If that is the case, perhaps the solution to George Herbert Walker Bush’s problem is a high-rise wheelchair. Or would that offer new opportunities for his favorite magician?
[Featured Image by David J. Phillip/AP Images]