U.S. President Donald Trump has blasted the #MeToo movement that has emboldened victims of sexual assault or harassment to speak out, asserting that the wave of accusations against public figures has eliminated due process. The president’s comments arrived soon after two of his administration resigned amid allegations of domestic violence.
On Feb. 10, Trump took to social media to wonder if the various high-profile sexual abuse allegations that had rocked the nation since last fall had eroded the rights of those accused.
“Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation,” Trump tweeted out. “Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused — life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”
On Feb. 7, White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned after two of his former wives publicly accused him of physical and verbal abuse. His first wife, Colbie Holderness, said that he had assaulted her repeatedly during their marriage and had once punched in her the face, providing a photograph of herself with a prominent bruise as evidence. His second wife, Jennie Willoughby, alleged that he was verbally abusive and disclosed that she had taken out a restraining order against him in 2010.
White House counsel Donald McGahn knew of the allegations as early as the beginning of 2017. Porter was denied a permanent security clearance as the FBI investigated the accusations. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly allegedly learned of the allegations against Porter in September 2017, The Washington Post reported.
On Feb. 9, White House speechwriter David Sorensen preemptively resigned before the public airing of allegations that he had physically abused his ex-wife, Jessica Corbett. Sorensen’s former spouse accused him of repeatedly slapping her and putting a cigarette out on her hand.
Both Porter and Sorensen have denied the allegations.
Trump has publicly defended Porter, telling reporters: “I think you also have to remember … he said very strongly yesterday he’s innocent.”
Several White House sources who requested anonymity told Axios that Trump privately said the he believed the accusations against Porter and that he thought that the staff secretary was “sick.”
Trump has repeatedly sided with the accused in matters of sexual assault or harassment. The president has defended the late Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly against accusations of repeated sexual harassment. He also supported Senate candidate Roy Moore’s denial of child molestation allegations.
Over a dozen women have accused Trump of sexual assault or harassment. The president has denied all of the allegations and the White House has asserted that all of the accusers are liars, according to ThinkProgress.
In October 2017, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked: “Is the official White House position that all of the women are lying?”
“Yeah, we’ve been clear on that from the beginning and the president has spoken on it,” Sanders responded.
Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, a vocal advocate against sexual assault, blasted Trump’s critique of the #MeToo movement and called on Congress to investigate the allegations of sexual misconduct against him, The Hill reported.
“It’s not surprising that he doesn’t believe survivors or understand the national conversation that is happening … If he wants due process for the over dozen sexual assault allegations against him, let’s have Congressional hearings tomorrow,” Gillibrand tweeted.