- Thomson Reuters
- Three women who have accused President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct are set to be interviewed by NBC’s Megyn Kelly on Monday.
- Trump has denied all allegations of misconduct, but Democrats are pressing on him to resign as they expel members of their own ranks accused of similar behavior.
- The president has taken a hard line in defending himself and Roy Moore, the US Senate candidate in Alabama accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct.
President Donald Trump’s history of accusations of sexual misconduct will resurface Monday, with NBC’s Megyn Kelly set to interview three of his accusers on live TV.
Trump denied allegations of sexual misconduct from 16 women on the campaign trail, but Kelly’s interview comes at a time when celebrities and politicians have come under increasing scrutiny for their behavior toward women.
Though lawmakers accused of misconduct have faced pressure from Democrats, on the Republican side Trump has risen to the defense of a Senate candidate in a similar situation. Roy Moore, the US Senate candidate in Alabama accused by nine women of sexual misconduct, has been endorsed by Trump, who held a campaign rally in nearby Pensacola, Florida, on Friday.
Over the weekend, a chorus of well-known Democratic senators called for Trump to resign over sexual-harassment allegations.
The president’s potential defamation lawsuit
More than simply airing out accusations on TV, Trump may also face a defamation lawsuit from one of his accusers.
Summer Zervos, a former contestant on NBC’s “The Apprentice,” claimed last year that Trump “very aggressively” kissed her, groped her breasts, and began “thrusting” his genitals at her in a 2007 meeting at The Beverly Hills Hotel. Her claim is that Trump damaged her reputation when he later denied the allegations and called her a liar.
While Trump’s legal team is trying to get the case dismissed, there’s a legal precedent for presidents becoming ensnared in sworn testimonies.
President Bill Clinton was impeached (but not removed from office) late in his second term, in part for lying under oath. The Clinton scandal also brought about a Supreme Court decision in 1997 that determined presidents were not immune from civil-law litigation over something that happened before they took office.
But Trump’s team has argued that the defamation charge is meritless, as Trump called Zervos a liar in political forums.
Regardless of the results of Trump’s impending case, the Democrats have purged accused sexual harassers from within their ranks, and Trump has chosen to defend himself and others accused of abuses while the public becomes more and more aware of #MeToo movement.
As Business Insider’s Eliza Relman and Joe Perticone point out, the Democrats’ new zero-tolerance policy against accused harassers may have perfectly positioned the party to pummel Republicans in 2018 as it seeks to win back the House and the Senate.