- First lady Melania Trump talked about the #MeToo movement in an interview with Good Morning America set to air on Friday, and she echoed her husband on a key point.
- She said men also need support regarding #MeToo accusations, and that their accusers need to produce hard evidence.
- It is notoriously difficult for accusers to present hard evidence of sexual assault, and President Donald Trump has often come to conclusions on sexual assault cases without hard evidence.
First lady Melania Trump opened up about her stance on the #MeToo movement with an interview to Good Morning America set to air on Friday, and she echoed her husband on a key point.
“I support the women and they need to be heard. We need to support them and also men, not just women,” said Trump.
Asked if she thought the movement had mistreated accused men, as women increasingly come forward to allege sexual misconduct against powerful figures, she said that they needed hard evidence.
“You need to have really hard evidence. If you’re accused of something, then show the evidence.
“You cannot just say to somebody, ‘I was sexually assaulted’… because sometimes the media goes too far and the way they portray some stories, it’s not correct, it’s not right,” she said.
President Donald Trump has been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct or assault, but categorically denies all charges.
The movement of reckoning for sexual assault survivors again came to national attention during Brett Kavanaugh’s rocky Supreme Court nomination hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Following the hearing, which saw Kavanaugh accused of a high school sexual assault against a Palo Alto University professor, the president prematurely declared Kavanaugh “proven innocent,” despite FBI investigations drawing no conclusions. Trump concluded, without seeing hard evidence, that Kavanaugh’s accuser had wrongfully accused him. He later mocked his accuser’s emotional testimony.
Speaking at a press conference during the Kavanaugh hearings, the president appeared to empathize with the nominee as a fellow man falsely accused. At a rally in Mississippi prior to that he said, “Think of your son. Think of your husband. I’ve had so many false accusations.”
Currently, US law requires jury trials over sexual assault to prove the allegations “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which often requires hard evidence. Despite the popularity of the #MeToo movement, convictions have been hard to come by even when multiple women allege assault.
Because of the traumatic nature of sexual crimes, victims often also elect not to report the incidents, which can make it more difficult for accusers to produce hard evidence later.
As first lady, Trump has remained mostly silent on allegations of misconduct or extra-marital affairs against the president.