At least sixteen women have come forward with sexual misconduct accusations against President Donald Trump. However, according to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, those women are lying. Over the years, we’ve heard women who have experienced sexual assault and harassment say that one of the main reasons they didn’t immediately share their stories is because they were afraid of not being believed. To take what might be the most traumatic experience of a woman’s life and reduce it to nothing but a lie or a cry for attention — simply because you’re in a position to do so — isn’t okay.
Sanders was responding to a question from CBS News reporter Jacqueline Alemany during a White House press briefing.
“Obviously sexually harassment has been in the news,” Jacqueline said. “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?”
This news is hard to hear — and dangerous at a time when women are still struggling to come forward and have their stories believed. It’s even worse when Trump has himself admitted to harassing and assaulting women, though we’re sure he doesn’t call it that.
Back in 2005, while chatting with Billy Bush for Access Hollywood, Trump admitted to kissing and groping women without their consent.
Zervos’s attorneys subpoenaed the Trump campaign for any documents pertaining to “any woman alleging that Donald J. Trump touched her inappropriately” over the course of the 2016 campaign. When Trump denied the request, she sued him for defamation.
Melinda McGillivray, who alleges the president groped her at Mar-a-Lago in 2003, reacted similarly. “What pisses me off is that the guy is president,” she said. “It’s that simple.”
Hearing Sanders’s statement and knowing it’s the official White House position is absolutely disheartening. Especially at a time movements like the #MeToo campaign are finally empowering women to come forward. But we’re standing with all the women and men brave enough to share their stories.