U.S. President Donald Trump blamed Democratic lawmakers Tuesday for fueling the controversy surrounding allegations of sexual misconduct before he was in the White House.
One day after 56 congresswomen, all members of the Democratic Women’s Working Group, called on House leaders to investigate the allegations, the president on Twitter accused Democrats of playing partisan politics and denied knowing any of the women who have leveled accusations against him.
Trump also denounced New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who said Monday on CNN the “allegations are credible” and ” many of them are heartbreaking.”
Gillibrand responded with a tweet of her own, saying Trump is unable to deny women the right to voice their opinions about him.
The 56 representatives sent a letter Monday to Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and the committee’s senior Democrat Elijah Cummings.
“At least 17 women have publicly accused the president of sexual misconduct,” the letter from the Democratic Women’s Working Group says.
“The American people deserve a full inquiry into the truth of these allegations. The president’s own remarks appear to back up the allegations … he feels at liberty to perpetrate such conduct against women. We cannot ignore the multitude of women who have come forward with accusations against Mr. Trump.”
The letter invites the president to bring forth present evidence in his own defense.
Earlier Monday, Gillibrand and three other U.S. senators called on Trump to resign over the allegations.
Gillibrand said if Trump does not immediately resign, Congress “should have appropriate investigations of his behavior and hold him accountable.”
The remarks follow similar calls by Senator Bernie Sanders – an independent – and Democrats Jeff Merkley, and Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey. All of them urged the president to step down following the announced resignations of three lawmakers: Democratic Senator Al Franken, Democratic Congressman John Conyers and Republican Congressman Trent Franks over sexual misconduct allegations.
Three women, who last year accused Donald Trump of making unwanted sexual advances, renewed their allegations Monday, saying it was time Congress investigate claims against the president in the wake of dozens of other powerful American men being held accountable for their treatment of women.
Rachel Crooks, who accused Trump of forcibly kissing her 12 years ago when she worked as a receptionist at his Trump Tower business headquarters in New York, said lawmakers should “put aside their party affiliations and investigate Mr. Trump’s history of sexual misconduct.”
She appeared alongside the two other Trump accusers at a New York news conference: Samantha Holvey, who alleged that Trump walked uninvited into a backstage dressing area where she and others were in various states of undress at a 2012 beauty pageant Trump owned, and Jessica Leeds, who accused Trump of groping her when she sat next to him on a commercial airline flight in the late 1970s.
During last year’s presidential campaign, more than a dozen women accused Trump of sexual misconduct extending over several decades, but he denied all the accusations, and said that an explicit 2005 taped comment of him boasting of groping women was merely “locker room talk.”
The White House again rejected the allegations.
“These false claims, totally disputed in most cases by eyewitness accounts, were addressed at length during last year’s campaign, and the American people voiced their judgment by delivering a decisive victory,” the White House said. “The timing and absurdity of these false claims speaks volumes and the publicity tour that has begun only further confirms the political motives behind them.”
Later, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “We feel these allegations have been answered” by the results of the 2016 election. “The American people knew this and voted for the president.”