Reacting to Harvey Weinstein’s conviction on criminal sexual assault and third-degree rape charges, President Donald Trump hailed a New York jury’s decision as a “great victory” for women and sought to tie the disgraced movie mogul to prominent Democrats while ignoring allegations about his own behavior towards women.
“I think from the standpoint of women it was a great thing, it was a great victory and sends a very strong message,” Trump said during a wide-ranging news conference Tuesday in New Delhi, India, when asked what the result means for women who may be afraid to come forward with their own experiences with sexual assault or harassment.
The president attempted to tie the 67-year-old Weinstein to Democrats while simultaneously distancing himself from the now jailed sex offender, saying he was “never a fan” of Weinstein and claiming prominent Democrats — specifically Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton — “loved him.”
“The people who liked him were the Democrats,” Trump said. “He gave tremendous money to the Democrats.”
The question now, Trump said, is whether the Democrats give the money back?
Back in October 2017, ABC News reported that at least eight Democratic senators either donated or vowed to donate contributions Weinstein provided in past campaigns. They included Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who said she donated $5,000 she received from Weinstein in 2012 to charity.
Former Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York both donated campaign contributions they had received from Weinstein to charities supporting women. Booker donated $7,800 he got from Weinstein to the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual assault, a nonprofit charity organization.
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer also donated a total of $14,200 in past contributions from Weinstein to several charities supporting women.
Trump said he has been too busy traveling and taking meetings to follow the trial closely.
At least 17 women have accused Trump of varying inappropriate behavior, including allegations of sexual harassment or sexual assault, all but one coming forward with their accusations before or during his bid for the White House. Trump has denied the allegations and no charges were ever filed against him.
During Trump’s 2016 campaign for president, a hot-mic recording of his interview with “Access Hollywood” surfaced, and he was caught making foul-mouthed remarks about groping women, saying, “When you’re a star they let you do it… You can do anything. Grab them by the p—- You can do anything.”
Trump later dismissed the remarks as “locker room banter.”
Weinstein was found guilty of criminal sexual assault and of rape in the third degree in a New York court. He was found not guilty of the more serious charges of predatory sexual assault and of rape in the first degree.MORE: More Tapes Surface of Donald Trump’s Lewd Remarks About Women
The judge in the case remanded Weinstein into custody without bail against his attorneys’ request.
His lawyers said they will appeal the conviction, claiming there were “extremely troubling” issues with the trial.
The outcome of the riveting trial is seen as a landmark moment in the #MeToo movement, which was spurred into mainstream awareness after allegations against Weinstein were first reported in October 2017 by The New York Times and The New Yorker.
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