The #MeToo movement is making its way through politics and is now attempting to challenge the most powerful man in the country.
In October 2016, The Washington Post broke the news of The Access Hollywood Tape, which showed Donald Trump in 2005 bragging about forcibly kissing and touching women in a conversation with Billy Bush. Just months later, even in the midst of mounting allegations of sexual misconduct and assault, Trump took office and became the 45th president of the United States.
Democratic Senators call for Trump’s resignation
After Senator Al Franken announced his resignation last Thursday in the face of multiple accusations of sexual misconduct, Democratic Senators promptly turned to President Trump to suggest that he should do the same.
Senators Jeff Merkley and Cory Booker were among the first.
“The president should resign because he certainly has a track record with more than 17 women of horrific conduct,” Merkley said in an interview last week for NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Booker told Vice News in an interview on Saturday that President Trump should follow the example of Senator Al Franken by doing “the honorable thing” and resigning from office.
“My question is, why isn’t Donald Trump doing the same thing [as Sen. Franken]— who has more serious allegations against him, with more women who have come forward,” Booker said. “The fact pattern on him is far more damning than the fact pattern on Al Franken.”
Other Democratic Senators who have suggested or called for Trump’s resignation include Kirsten Gillibrand, Ron Wyden, and Bernie Sanders.
In an interview with CNN on Monday, Kirsten Gillibrand urged President Trump to step down from office due to the numerous sexual misconduct allegations against him. If he chooses not to, Gillibrand believes that Congress should start an investigation into the allegations.
“Al Franken felt it proper for him to resign,” Bernie Sanders said in an interview with “Meet The Press” last week. “Here you have a president who has been accused by many women of assault, who says on a tape that he assaulted women. He might want to think about doing the same.”
Sanders expressed the same thoughts in a tweet last week.
We have a president who acknowledged on tape that he assaulted women. I would hope that he pays attention to what's going on and think about resigning.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 7, 2017
Trump’s accusers recount their experiences on NBC’s Megyn Kelly Today
Three women who have accused President Trump of sexual misconduct appeared on NBC’s Megyn Kelly TODAY yesterday, Nov 11, to share their past experiences with Trump during a live broadcast interview.
Jessica Leeds, Rachel Crooks, and Samantha Holvey, all of whom have publicly accused Trump of sexual harassment, spoke to Anchor Megyn Kelly on Monday, describing their personal experiences with Trump and how it felt to see him elected as the president of the United States.
Jessica Leeds told Kelly that she met Donald Trump in the 1970s on a plane ride after she was upgraded to first-class. After finishing an in-flight meal, Leeds claims that Trump, who was in the seat next to her, tried to put his hand up her skirt. “All of a sudden, he’s all over me. Kissing and groping, groping and kissing,” Leeds said. “Nothing was said … It was just this silent groping going on.”
Three years after the incident, Leeds moved to New York City for a job, where she says she ran into Trump at a work-related event. Leeds said that Trump recognized her as “that woman from that airplane,” and called her “the worst name ever.” When asked if the word began with a ‘c’ and ended with a ‘t,’ Leeds confirmed that it did. “The room cleared,” Leeds said. “It was like everybody just disappeared. It was shocking.”
Rachel Crooks was working at Trump Tower as a 22-year old receptionist at a real estate investment firm when she met Donald Trump for the first time. During their first introduction, Crooks claimed that Trump shook her hand and gave her the “normal double cheek kiss,” but then he held onto her hand as he continued to kiss her “I don’t know how many times, back and forth,” outside her office.
“Then, he kissed me on the lips and I was shocked,” Crooks said. “I mean.. devastated. It happened so fast.”
Samantha Holvey competed in the 2006 Miss USA contest, where she met Donald Trump for the first time. In an interview with CNN, Holvey claimed that Trump would walk backstage where he “personally inspected each woman” before the pageant. Holvey had originally thought Trump had come backstage for a “meet and greet” with the contestants but quickly realized that was not the case.
“It was ‘hi,’ just looking me over like I was just a piece of meat,” Holvey said. “I was not a human being. I didn’t have a brain, I didn’t have a personality. I was just simply there for his pleasure. It left me feeling very gross, very dirty,” Holvey said during the broadcast.
President Trump and his administration have denied all allegations. In a press briefing yesterday, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders stated: “The President has addressed these accusations directly and denied all of these allegations. And this took place long before he was elected to be President. And the people of this country, at a decisive election, supported President Trump, and we feel like these allegations have been answered through that process.”
Sanders continued on to say that President Trump “has firsthand knowledge of what he did and didn’t do. He can speak directly to those, and he has, and he’s addressed them. And I don’t have anything further to add.”
Trump’s support of Roy Moore
In the midst of everything, it is difficult to ignore the special election that is taking place today to determine the new Senator from Alabama. Republican candidate Roy Moore is up against Democratic candidate Doug Jones for the highly coveted Senate seat, which became vacant after President Trump designated Jeff Sessions to be his Attorney General.
The exceptional attention focused on this election is largely due to the multiple sexual misconduct allegations against Roy Moore, who has been accused of even the molestation of underage girls when he was a prosecutor in his 30s. He has denied all the allegations and has rejected all calls to quit the race. Unlike many other Republicans who have distanced themselves from the embattled Senate hopeful, President Trump has defended Moore, and publicly endorsed him in the race last month.
The significance of the allegations against Trump in the midst of #MeToo
Like most of the powerful men who have been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior so far this year, Trump and his administration are attempting to discredit and cast doubt on the validity of the statements of the women who have spoken out. It’s an all-too-predictable pattern amongst the big names who have been taken down by the movement, and even those like Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by over 50 women, have attempted to carry it out.
The pattern so far has largely been so: a sexual misconduct accusation surfaces and is immediately discredited by the accused. Another one surfaces and is again discredited. This continues until the number of allegations balloons so high that the accused has no choice but to finally accept that his one testimony cannot rival that of dozens.
The core of the #MeToo movement is to spotlight the prevalence of sexual harassment in our society, to create a kind of solidarity that protects individuals who speak out about their stories from being immediately and relentlessly disregarded. It is a movement that is long overdue, and it is a movement that is now attempting to challenge the most powerful man in the country.