Women are ly­ing, says White House

Sunday Star-Times - - World -

All the women who have ac­cused US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump of sex­ual ha­rass­ment are ly­ing, White House press sec­re­tary Sarah Huck­abee San­ders said yes­ter­day when asked for the of­fi­cial White House po­si­tion on the is­sue.

The ques­tion was posed dur­ing a White House brief­ing, at a time when nu­mer­ous men in high­pro­file po­si­tions have been ac­cused of sex­ual mis­con­duct.

‘‘Ob­vi­ously, sex­ual ha­rass­ment has been in the news,’’ Jac­que­line Ale­many of CBS News asked San­ders. ‘‘At least 16 women ac­cused the pres­i­dent of sex­u­ally ha­rass­ing them through­out the course of the cam­paign. Last week, dur­ing a press con­fer­ence in the Rose Gar­den, the pres­i­dent called th­ese ac­cu­sa­tions ‘fake news’. Is the of­fi­cial White House po­si­tion that all of th­ese women are ly­ing?’’

‘‘Yeah, we’ve been clear on that from the be­gin­ning, and the pres­i­dent’s spo­ken on it,’’ San­ders said, be­fore quickly piv­ot­ing to an­other re­porter to ask a ques­tion.

Dur­ing the Rose Gar­den news con­fer­ence that Ale­many re­ferred to, Trump was asked about al­le­ga­tions made by Sum­mer Zer­vos, a for­mer con­tes­tant on his tele­vi­sion show The Ap­pren­tice. She has ac­cused Trump of forcibly kiss­ing her and touch­ing her breast.

Eleven women came for­ward dur­ing the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion cam­paign to ac­cuse the thenRepub­li­can can­di­date of un­wanted touch­ing or kiss­ing. Other women ac­cused Trump of walk­ing in on them when they were un­dress­ing at beauty pageants he owned.

Mean­while, a Cal­i­for­nia con­gress­woman used a video yes­ter­day to de­scribe be­ing grabbed and kissed as a young con­gres­sional aide and to in­vite staffers to share their own sto­ries.

‘‘Many of us in Congress know what it’s like, be­cause Congress has been a breed­ing ground for a hos­tile work en­vi­ron­ment for far too long,’’ Jackie Speier says in the brief video she posted on Twit­ter and YouTube.

The 67-year-old Democrat said her of­fice’s chief of staff ‘‘held my face, kissed me and stuck his tongue in my mouth’’.

She said she knew what it meant to keep such sto­ries bot­tled up. ‘‘I know what it’s like to lie in bed at night, won­der­ing if I was the one who had done some­thing wrong. I know what it’s like years later to re­mem­ber that rush of hu­mil­i­a­tion and anger.’’

In the video, Speier urges cur­rent and for­mer con­gres­sional aides to tell their sto­ries on a new hash­tag, #MeTooCongress.

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