New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand has been out in front on the sexual abuse issue and called for Donald Trump to resign because of the charges that sixteen women have leveled against his disgusting behavior. Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii then came out with an even stronger statement, saying “The only way to stop this president who has a narcissistic need for attention, he’s a misogynist and admitted sexual predator and a liar. The only thing that will stop him from attacking us—because nobody is safe—is his resignation.”
Trump will not do that, of course, but these calls are important and have resulted in over 100 congressional members of the Democratic party calling for a formal congressional inquiry into the charges. What is even more surprising is Trump’s ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley saying that Trump’s accusers had a right to be heard, which reportedly made him fume.
In response, Trump has of course resorted to lying because that is what he does, saying that he did not know his accusers and had never even met them before, claims that were immediately contradicted by photographs of him with some of them.
Why this action by Gillibrand and Hirono is important is because the women who were abused by Trump and then subsequently accused of being liars need a champion to keep their case before the public and you need high profile people pushing it to keep it in the news. Trump would have been well advised to ignore Gillibrand but that is not his style. He can be easily baited and he responded to Gillibrand with an ugly innuendo that not only served to extend the news cycle on this story but added yet more evidence that he has no moral core. Gillibrand has been defiant in the face of Trump’s attacks, calling it a ‘sexist smear’.
Democratic congressional women are leading the charge on this and it will be interesting to see if the issue breaks down along gender lines. We know that Trump has strong support among white men but he also has plenty of white women behind him. In Alabama, women favored Doug Jones over the Trump-backed Roy Moore by a margin of 58-42% but that margin was aided by the almost unanimous black women vote in favor of Jones. White women, on the other hand, voted for Moore by a margin of 63-34%. While this is a big improvement from the mere 16% of white women in Alabama who voted for Barack Obama in 2012, it is still disturbing low, especially given how awful a candidate Moore was.
But if congressional Democrats can maintain steady pressure on Trump and the Republican party over its misogyny and keep it in the news, over time that might eat away at the support that white women have given him and the party.