When President Donald Trump declared April Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, people were understandably bewildered and infuriated. After all, this is the man who famously said “grab ‘em by the p****” and made headlines for saying inappropriate things about his own daughter on several occasions.
Some social media users were wondering how the president, who has been repeatedly accused of sexual assault and harassment since the 1980s, was going to honor the victims of such heinous crimes.
I wonder if Trump would encourage this same support of the 16 women who have publicly accused him of sexual assault pic.twitter.com/QEYjGB0fCP— Emma Gray (@emmaladyrose) March 31, 2017
Well, Trump is observing the month just as one would expect him to — by taking time out to defend Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, another man accused of making unwanted advances towards women and retaliating against them when they refused his ludicrous offers.
“Personally, I think he shouldn’t have settled,” Trump told The New York Times in a wide-ranging interview. “Because you should have taken it all the way; I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.”
He was referring to a recent report that revealed O’Reilly and his employer cumulatively paid $13 million to five different women in settlement money.
The world already knew about the claims filed by former Fox News hosts Juliet Huddy and Andrea Tantaros, but the other three plaintiffs — former Fox Business Network host Rebecca Diamond, former O’Reilly junior producer Rachel Witlieb Bernstein and ex-anchor Laurie Dhue — came as a surprise.
“I think he’s a person I know well,” Trump continued. “He is a good person.”
Of course, by Trump’s standards, “The O’Reilly Factor” host is a tremendous guy, maybe even the most tremendous person he knows.
The truth is, they are one and the same.
A leaked 2005 "Access Hollywood" audio clip showed the business mogul bragging about trying to force himself on a woman who kept rebuffing him. He also boasted about his uncanny ability to molest women anywhere he wanted because “they let you get away with anything when you’re a star.”
Following the release of the tape, more than a dozen women came forward to accuse then-Republican presidential nominee of sexually assaulting, groping and harassing them. The former reality TV star, in turn, suggested he could not have assaulted the women because they were too ugly for him. What’s more, he even won the election against who would have been the first female president in the history of the United States.
The Fox News commentator is just as big of a misogynist as Trump.
In 2004, the Smoking Gun published the text of a sexual harassment lawsuit former Fox producer Andrea Mackris filed against the conservative political analyst. The audio tapes, where the right-wing talk show host was heard trying to lure Mackris into initiating a sexual liaison, also made headlines.
However, just like the U.S. commander-in-chief, O’Reilly managed to come out of the scandal unscathed.
Rebecca Diamond, one of the women who reportedly settled her sexual harassment allegations against the racist commentator, expressed her disappointment over Trump’s comments.
@POTUS I'm saddened reading your comments. Truly disappointed and vilified all over again. Such comments tell women they won't be believed— Rebecca Diamond (@gogodiamond) April 5, 2017
@POTUS President Trump, I have personally met and interviewed three of your children several times while I was a host at Fox Business.— Rebecca Diamond (@gogodiamond) April 5, 2017
@POTUS If you don't believe in settlements, get rid of forced mediation employment agreements and women won't have to settle.— Rebecca Diamond (@gogodiamond) April 5, 2017
@POTUS Fox has publicly acknowledged it requires employment agreements, which require mediation and prevent going to court. Their choice— Rebecca Diamond (@gogodiamond) April 5, 2017
@POTUS President Trump, the women were forced to settle, not the other way around, because of employment agreements prohibiting court trials— Rebecca Diamond (@gogodiamond) April 5, 2017
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Eric Thayer