Nikki R. Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, is the sole voice in te grand old Republican Party, wanting that women who have accused President Trump of sexual misconduct “should be heard,” a surprising break from the administration’s longstanding assertion that the allegations are false and that voters rightly dismissed them when they elected Mr. Trump.
According to reports, Haley, a former governor and one of the highest-ranking women in Trump’s administration, refocused attention on the allegations against the president by insisting that his accusers should be treated no differently than the scores of women who have come forward in recent weeks with stories of sexual harassment and misconduct against other men.
“They should be heard, and they should be dealt with,” Haley told NBC in an exclusive interview last week. “And I think we heard from them prior to the election. And I think any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way, they have every right to speak up.”
Her remarks are the latest indication that the president’s behavior toward women — more than a dozen have accused him of unwanted touching, forcible kissing or groping — may not escape renewed scrutiny at a time when an array of powerful men have had their careers derailed because of their improper treatment of women, some of which took place decades ago.
President Trump is reportedly furious with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley for saying that the women who have accused him of sexual misconduct “should be heard.”
The Associated Press reported on Monday that Haley’s comments angered Trump as the claims against him have resurfaced in recent weeks. More than a dozen women came forward to publicly accuse Trump of sexual misconduct during his presidential campaign. The White House has said that the women are lying. Trump has also dismissed their claims as “fake news.”
The #MeToo movement has engulfed prominent members of both political parties. Democrats have appeared determined to grab the moral and political high ground, largely forcing their accused party members to resign.
Republicans have been more divided: Even as some accused members have stepped down, the party has largely stood by Mr. Trump. And it remains bitterly split over how to respond to the case of Roy S. Moore, the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama who has been accused of molesting an underage girl and attempting to date other teenagers when he was in his 30s.
Some of the women who first accused Trump during the campaign last year have expressed a renewed desire to press their case. Three of them will be interviewed by Megyn Kelly on NBC’s “Today” show on Monday, December 11. So far, though, the upheaval in societal norms about sexual conduct in the workplace has swirled around the president but left him largely unscathed.
Undaunted, the president has used Twitter to mock other men who have been accused, including Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, who announced his plans to resign after several harassment allegations. Trump has defended and endorsed Moore, calling the claims against him “troubling” but insisting that he is needed in the Senate to advance the Republican agenda.
Through it all, the White House has repeatedly sought to deflect and discredit any attempt to revisit the “Access Hollywood” tape, in which Mr. Trump crudely bragged about kissing women and grabbing their private parts, or to examine again the allegations from the women who came forward weeks before the 2016 election to accuse Mr. Trump of crude sexual behavior.
In recent months, Trump has privately been casting doubt that the “Access Hollywood” tape is authentic, despite publicly acknowledging shortly after its release in October 2016 that “I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize.”
And he has steadfastly denied all of the women’s accusations, calling them “made-up stuff” and “totally fake news.” Asked about the sexual misconduct accusations against the president and whether the women were lying, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said that they were and that “the president addressed the comments back during the campaign.”