Former president faces new claim
Another woman has come forward with allegations that George H W Bush groped her as she posed for a photo with the former US president at an event.
Novelist Christina Baker Kline became the third woman this week to make such allegations, writing in Slate that Bush inappropriately touched her in April 2014 at a fundraiser for the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.
Kline wrote that while she was taking a picture with Bush at the event, he asked: ‘‘You wanna know my favorite book?’’
‘‘Yes, what is it?’’ she recalled responding.
‘‘By now, the photographer was readying the shot,’’ she wrote. ‘‘My husband stood on one side of the wheelchair, and I stood on the other. President Bush put his arm around me, low on my back.
‘‘His comic timing was impeccable. ‘David Cop-a-feel,’ he said, and squeezed my butt, hard, just as the photographer snapped the photo. Instinctively, I swiped his hand away.’’
Kline said a friend of the Bush family later asked her to be ‘‘discreet’’ about the incident.
Two other women, actresses Heather Lind and Jordana Grolnick, said earlier this week that they were groped by the 41st president while taking photos with him at other events.
Both said former first lady Barbara Bush saw the incidents.
Bush spokesman Jim McGrath said earlier this week that the former president occasionally ‘‘patted women’s rears’’, but that he never intended to offend or act inappropriately. In a statement issued by McGrath, Bush apologised.
McGrath told The Washington Post that Barbara Bush had no comment about the allegations by Lind and Grolnick. He could not be immediately reached for comment about Kline’s allegation, but Slate said McGrath directed the magazine to his earlier statement.
Kline wrote that after making his ‘‘David Cop-a-feel’’ joke and touching her, the former president laughed ‘‘like a mischievous boy’’. She said she struggled to keep a smile on her face for the photo. Her husband stood on the other side of Bush’s wheelchair, smiling and unaware of what had happened.
Kline said she kept quiet about the incident because she didn’t want to face the scrutiny she knew the allegation would bring. She had been finishing a series of treatments for an invasive form of breast cancer a year earlier, and her hair had only just grown back, she said.
‘‘I was vulnerable enough; I didn’t want to face the consequences of making such an accusation,’’ she wrote, citing President Donald Trump’s comment that a woman wasn’t physically attractive enough to be sexually harassed by him.
Bush used a variation of the same joke on Grolnick. She said she was working on a production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame in Maine in August 2016, near the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, when Bush came backstage during an intermission and grabbed her backside as they posed for a picture.
Lind said the incident involving her happened four years ago, when she met Bush while promoting a historical television show she was working on. She said he ‘‘sexually assaulted’’ her as she stood next to him during a photo op.
Lind said Barbara Bush ‘‘rolled her eyes as if to say ‘Not again’,’’ when she saw what happened. Lind also said that a security guard later told her that she shouldn’t have stood next to Bush.
Bush is scheduled to join his son and fellow former president George W Bush to throw the ceremonial first pitch before game five of baseball’s World Series tomorrow in Houston, Texas.
Bsetelling novelist Christina Baker Kline says George H W Bush inappropriately touched her at a fundraising event in 2014.