Condemning Harvey Weinstein is a pro-Trump stance, according to Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, who said as much on Fox News Wednesday morning.
“I’m happy and heartened and proud of many Democrats across the aisle and a lot of people in the mainstream media who are very anti-Trump coming forward about this,” Conway said of the recent revelations about the movie producer’s alleged history of sexual harassment and assault.
Conway then lashed out at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for taking five days to condemn Weinstein, who had been a friend and donor, on Twitter.
“On this, I felt like a woman who ran to be commander in chief and president of the United States who talks about women’s empowerment took an awfully long time to give support to those women who were coming forward and has still as far as we know kept the money,” Conway said.
Revelations about Weinstein began in earnest last week, when The New York Times ran an expose detailing Weinstein’s alleged history of paying off accusers. On Tuesday, The New Yorker published its own report of Weinstein’s alleged predatory history, including three women who went on the record saying Weinstein had raped them.
The Times ran another story Tuesday about Weinstein’s alleged casting couch abuses, in which mega-stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie claimed Weinstein had harassed them.
Dozens of women have since come forward to claim Weinstein assaulted or harassed them, with some allegations going back decades. What seems clear is this: Weinstein allegedly used his position of power to harass women, particularly those who relied on him to advance their careers, and he allegedly used that power to keep them silent for years.
But for Conway and many others on the right, the Weinstein allegations aren’t about abuses of power and a culture of toxic masculinity, but rather about the fact that Weinstein is a Democrat with connections to Clinton and other high-profile Democrats.
“The bigger scandal is the reaction to it – or the lack of reaction,” Fox News host Tucker Carlson said on his show Tuesday. “Harvey Weinstein isn’t just a movie producer, he’s a political figure on the left, a major donor to the Democratic Party, a personal friend to countless liberal activists and politicians. All of which helps explain why the reaction from self-described defenders of women has been so muted.”
“So Michelle Obama speaks out against women in the @GOP, but won’t stand up for the women assaulted by Weinstein?” Republican National Committee Chairman Ronna McDaniel tweeted Tuesday.
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) October 10, 2017
Even news personalities felt the need to weigh in on the matter.
“HRC spoke for 90 mins last nite, didn’t mention Harvey Weinstein. She won’t give women a ‘pass’ for not voting for her, but she gave him one,” CNN’s Erin Burnett tweeted Tuesday.
HRC spoke for 90 mins last nite, didn't mention Harvey Weinstein.She won't give women a "pass" for not voting for her, but she gave him one.
— Erin Burnett (@ErinBurnett) October 10, 2017
Trump campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson shared a Page Six story on Twitter Monday about designer Donna Karan defending Weinstein, adding, “If a Republican woman said this, she would be publicly DESTROYED. Let’s see what happens. #HollywoodHypocrites”
— Katrina Pierson (@KatrinaPierson) October 10, 2017
Democrats certainly need to grapple with their connections to Weinstein. Weinstein’s alleged behavior has reportedly been something of an open secret for years, and it’s unacceptable that anyone may have helped him cover up that alleged behavior. (Take, for instance, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, who claimed through a spokesperson this week that his office did not file charges against Weinstein because “available evidence, including multiple interviews with both parties” indicated “a criminal charge [was] not supported” at the time, despite sources involved with the investigation claiming otherwise). But the notion that condemning Harvey is somehow a pro-Trump stance is laughable.
Notably, President Trump himself has been at the center of a number of troubling allegations. Last year, more than a dozen women came forward to claim that then-candidate Trump had allegedly assaulted or harassed them.
“He was like an octopus. His hands were everywhere,” a woman named Jessica Leeds claimed to The New York Times about a flight she took sitting next to Trump.
Another woman, Natasha Stoynoff, a former writer for People magazine, wrote about an incident in 2005 in which she claimed Trump pushed her against a wall and forced his tongue down her throat.
And, of course, during the 2016 campaign — almost one year ago exactly — a recording of Trump admitting to sexual assault and talking about grabbing women “by the pussy” made headlines.
“I just start kissing them… Just kiss. I don’t even wait,” Trump said on the tape. “And when you’re a star they let you do it.”
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) October 10, 2017
Similarly, the New Yorker published a recording of Weinstein Tuesday begging a woman to come up to his hotel room. The audio was, in parts, nearly identical to the infamous Trump tape.
“Please,” Harvey can be heard saying. “I’m a famous guy.”
Both men allegedly relied on their positions of power to coerce women over the years, and a persistent culture of toxic masculinity protected them from facing the consequences of those alleged actions.
Condemnation isn’t about party politics — it’s a bipartisan issue and should be treated as such.