Why is President Trump exempt from sexual assault scrutiny?


Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, Ky. on Tuesday, March 1, 2016. Photo by Michael Reaves | Staff.

Sydney Nash

What happens in the United States of America when a rich and powerful man is accused of sexual harassment? In the case of Harvey Weinstein, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly and Kevin Spacey, it was a fall from grace.

Weinstein was fired from the company he founded, Ailes resigned after 20 years at Fox News, O’Reilly was fired from his popular talk show and Spacey’s popular Netflix series, “House of Cards” had its production halted.

So, what happens in the United States of America when a rich and powerful man runs for the most powerful position in the country, arguably the world? He gets elected.

In October 2016, just one month before the presidential election, The Washington Post released an Access Hollywood tape from 2005 where Donald Trump boasted about how his fame and money allowed him to treat women.

“You can do anything… grab them by the p****.” By November, numerous women had accused Donald Trump of sexual harassment, that included inappropriate touching, kissing and comments. On Nov. 8, 2016, Donald Trump was elected president of the United States.

In a state where Academy-award winners and media giants lose their career over allegations of sexual harassment, and rightly so, why is Donald Trump exempt?

Some would and have argued that Trump’s comments about women are all just “locker room talk.” But just because there is an accepted culture around how men, and sometimes women, objectify and degrade women in their speech does not make it right. Promoting violence against women, even as a joke, perpetuates this behavior as part of the cultural norm. To dismiss this kind of talk from a man who will be leading the country, where women make up just over fifty percent of the population? Inexcusable.

Who says its just locker room talk? Multiple women have come forward accusing the president of having sexually harassed them in the past. Why are they not being taken as seriously as women who have accused Weinstein and O’Reilly? Why are they so easily dismissed as “liars?” Is it because these women aren’t famous? Does it take women like Ashley Judd and Gwyneth Paltrow coming forward for the public to take these accusations seriously?

Whatever the reasons may be, little to no action is being taken to hold Trump accountable for what he may or may not have done to these women. Currently, the Trump campaign has been subpoenaed by lawyers of a woman who accused Donald Trump of sexual assault for all documents pertaining to her or any other accuser. It is unclear whether this case will change anything, and the White House still maintains that all the women that have accused President Trump are “liars.”

The failure of the American public to hold Trump accountable to these accusations is deeply disturbing. It is a reflection of American society that most would like to ignore. Because the accusations and allegations were not politically convenient for the Republican party, they chose to admonish him before quickly endorsing him. These women were quickly and quietly swept under the rug after being painted as liars and attention-seekers in the media. Then the country moved on.

This is not acceptable. Powerful men like Donald Trump are no longer untouchable, as the recent string of allegations against Hollywood elites has shown. Therefore, there is no reason for the public to minimize the accusations against the President. They need to be taken seriously by the public, and if the accusations prove to be true, he must be held accountable.