President Trump, on his way to a fundraiser in North Carolina, weighed in the scandal engulfing Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer accused by multiple women of sexual harassment. The allegations were made public by the New York Times on Thursday.
“I’ve know Harvey Weinstein a long time. I’m not at all surprised to see it,” Trump said in response to a question.
According to the the New York Times report, Weinstein used his powerful position in Hollywood to lure women to his hotel room, where they were subject to unwanted advanced and physical contact. In another incident, reported by HuffPost, Weinstein cornered a woman in a hallway and, when she rejected his advances, forced her to watch him masturbate.
He was subsequently asked by CNN’s Elizabeth’s Landers how Weinstein’s conduct differed from the conduct Trump bragged about on the infamous Access Hollywood tape, which was released one year ago today.
Trump responded that the tapes were merely “locker room” talk, before moving quickly to the next question. (Trump did not make the comments in a locker room.)
“[W]hen you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything,” Trump is heard saying on the tape, which was recorded in 2005. “Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”
At least 15 women have publicly accused Trump of sexual harassment and assault. In many cases, Trump has not even bothered to respond to the accusations. In other cases, he promised “proof” of his innocence, but did not deliver.
In one prominent case former People Magazine Natasha Stoynoff has six independent witnesses that back up her allegations of sexual assault against Trump. Stoynoff said Trump “pushed her against a wall, shoved his tongue in her mouth, and told her they were going to have an affair.”
Trump’s eagerness to condemn Weinstein stands in sharp contrast to his defense of Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes, two allies who were kicked out of Fox News after multiple allegations of sexual harassment. Trump said he didn’t think O’Reilly did anything wrong and called him “a good person.” Similarly, he questioned the veracity of the women accusing Ailes and called him a “very good person.” Ailes subsequently became an adviser to the Trump campaign.
Weinstein gave $1.4 million to Democrats since 1992. Some Democrats have donated money they received from Weinstein to charity.