Sanders Has a Very Strange Rationale for Why Trump’s Sexual Assault Claims Don’t Matter

The White House press secretary seems to have forgotten a key recording.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday offered a peculiar defense of President Donald Trump’s decision to attack Sen. Al Franken on Twitter over a new sexual misconduct revelation, but remain silent about serious sexual assault allegations against Roy Moore, the US Senate candidate in Alabama. 

“Senator Franken has admitted wrongdoing and the president hasn’t,” Sanders told reporters. “I think that’s a very clear distinction.” 

Trump’s tweets condemning Franken on Thursday drew instant charges of hypocrisy. More than a dozen women accused Trump of sexual harassment or assault during the 2016 campaign. 

Sanders also appeared to argue that media coverage of Trump’s alleged misconduct during the election, and his subsequent victory, showed he was innocent. “The American people I think spoke loud and clear when they elected this president,” she said.

Sanders’ rationale appears to leave out the leaked Access Hollywood recording of Trump from 2005, in which he brags about grabbing a woman’s “pussy” without her consent. Trump admitted to the crude remarks, but said it was harmless “locker room” banter.

On Thursday, the White House continued to dismiss criticism of Trump’s silence regarding Moore, arguing the president has already asked Moore to step aside if the allegations are true. Sanders has repeatedly failed to explain how Trump could establish the veracity of the accounts put forth by Moore’s accusers.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate