Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley spoke up this morning for women who have accused men in power of sexual misconduct, stating she believes they should be heard. At one point in the interview on “Face the Nation,” she went so far as to address the women who accused then-candidate Trump of sexual misconduct.
Nikki Haley: All women who have experienced sexual misconduct should be heard — even Trump’s accusers
She even bucked President Trump and the party line when she said the 2016 election didn’t totally settle the question of whether Trump’s accusers should be believed.
Many Trump supporters have argued the 2016 election meant the voters had decided on if he was guilty of sexual harassment.
Haley said elections shouldn’t keep women from speaking out.
“Women who accuse anyone should be heard,” she said. “They should be heard, they should be dealt with. 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.”
She added, “I know that he was elected, but women should always feel comfortable coming forward we should all be willing to listen to them.”
Nothing that she said was anti-Trump. How will it be perceived by the general public, the media, and most importantly her boss in the coming days? Will the President take this as a stab in the back? Will he acknowledge that the current trend in American society is to protect the accusers while examining their stories for validity?
As far as we can tell, the accusers in most high-profile situations have been classified properly. Those that have legitimate claims have been heard and in many cases their accusations have led to the removal of powerful men from their office. When accusations are shown to not be credible, the response has been equal but opposite. This trend is good as long as discernment is clear. When credible accusations are denounced or when false accusations generate inappropriate responses, this could turn into a major problem. So far, accusations over the last few months have been properly handled by both the media and the public.
What Haley brings up may start to come to bear soon. The President, who had over a dozen accusations made against him during the campaign, has denied them all. Since they came out during a contentious political season, those women weren’t “heard” despite claims by the White House that the election of President Trump puts those accusations to bed. They don’t, but that doesn’t mean they’ll ever be truly heard. Unless new accusations are made against the President, he will likely be the one immune party to this wave of recent accusations.
On the other hand, if credible accusations are made that tell us something we don’t already know, the whole question could rise back up. A report yesterday by a former Fox News anchor told us what we already know, that the President likes to kiss women on the lips, which is why it didn’t spark much controversy.
Juliet Huddy, who left a local Fox News station after accusing Bill O’Reilly of sexual misconduct, told New York radio host Bill Schulz that Trump tried to smooch her on the lips after taking her out to lunch in 2005 or 2006 at his namesake skyscraper. The incident allegedly occurred right around the time Trump married his third wife, Melania.
“He said goodbye to me in an elevator while his security guy was there,” Huddy recalled. “Rather than kiss me on the cheek, he leaned in to kiss me on the lips. I wasn’t offended. I was kind of like, ‘Oh my God.’”
Huddy said she didn’t feel “threatened” by Trump, but called the interaction a “weird moment.”
Haley’s comments are spot on. The President shouldn’t view them as a betrayal. She said all victims of sexual misconduct need to be heard, even if they’re making accusations against the most powerful man in the world. If the President is smart, he won’t make an issue of this. Haley has been one of the stars of his administration. If he turns on her, it will not end well.
President Trump has dozens of targets on his back. Sexual misconduct is just one of them, but it may be the one that hurts him and his party electorally if he ever lashes out about it. He may not like what Haley said, but he shouldn’t respond. He really shouldn’t even address it. He should simply forget about it and do nothing that can be construed as retaliation.