All the women who have accused President Donald Trump of sexual harassment are lying, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday 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 high-profile positions have been undercut of late by allegations of sexual misconduct, including journalist Mark Halperin, who faced accusations this week from former colleagues.
“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 referenced, 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.
“All I can say is it’s totally fake news. It’s just fake. It’s fake. It’s made-up stuff, and it’s disgraceful, what happens, but that happens in the – that happens in the world of politics,” Trump told reporters.
Eleven women came forward during the 2016 campaign to accuse the then-Republican presidential candidate of unwanted touching or kissing. Other women accused Trump of walking in on them when they were undressing at beauty pageants he owned.
Besides Halperin, other men whose behavior has been called into question in recent weeks include Bill O’Reilly, the star Fox News anchor who was ousted less than a year after Roger Ailes, the network’s co-founder; and Harvey Weinstein, once regarded as one of the most influential figures in the entertainment business.