Trump kisses a sign reading Women for Trump

Donald Trump, Again Accused of Sexual Misconduct, Refuses to Fire Labor Secretary Over His Role in Covering Up Sex Crimes

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Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that yet another woman has accused Donald Trump of inappropriate sexual behavior. Alva Johnson, a former staffer for Trump, says he kissed her without her consent during his presidential campaign.

Johnson says she greeted Trump while he was exiting an RV during a campaign stop. She told him how happy she was to be working for him and he “grasped her hand, thanked her for her work and leaned in.”

“Oh, my God, I think he’s going to kiss me,” she recalled thinking in an interview with the Post. “He’s coming straight for my lips. So I turn my head, and he kisses me right on corner of my mouth, still holding my hand the entire time. Then he walks on out.”

“I immediately felt violated because I wasn’t expecting it or wanting it,” Johnson said in a quote that the Washington Post has since inexplicably removed. “I can still see his lips coming straight for my face.”

Trump has been accused of various forms of sexual misconduct by at least 16 women, but this is the first report of such behavior allegedly taking place Trump began his campaign. He denies Johnson’s allegations, of course, as he has with all of them, but in a normal presidency, this would, at the very least, warrant an investigation.

But this isn’t a normal presidency, and it’s also not just Trump and his administration ignoring this sort of behavior. It’s the entire GOP.

In other, not unrelated, GOP abuse news, not a single Republican has called for the resignation of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta after a federal judge ruled that he broke the law in hiding information from the victims of Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire convicted of abusing dozens of underage girls. Epstein pled guilty to sex trafficking in 2007 and thanks to an “extraordinary plea agreement,” he only served 13 months in prison for crimes that easily could have gotten him a life sentence.

Late last year, a report from the Miami Herald revealed that Acosta, who in 2007 was a local rising star and acting as prosecutor on the case, hid the deal from Epstein’s victims, despite that being very much against the law.

“As a result, the non-prosecution agreement was sealed until after it was approved by the judge, thereby averting any chance that the girls — or anyone else — might show up in court and try to derail it,” writes the Herald. This meant that Epstein, “bolstered by unlimited funds and represented by a powerhouse legal team, was able to manipulate the criminal justice system,” and that “his accusers, still traumatized by their pasts, [believed] they were betrayed by the very prosecutors who pledged to protect them.”

This week, 19 House Democrats signed a letter calling on Acosta to resign. Given that his current role as Labor Secretary includes overseeing the combatting of sex trafficking and protecting its victims, that doesn’t seem like too extreme a request. Not a single Republican has signed that letter.

Last week, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that this was “a very complicated case,” and “something we’re certainly looking into.” But how likely is it that Trump will ask Acosta to resign? These two have been friends for decades. Maybe you remember this incredibly gross quote from Trump in a 2002 profile of Epstein:

“I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy,” Trump booms from a speakerphone. “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”

Trump, along with other public figures including Bill Clinton, was friends with Epstein, and he attended his friend’s parties–the sorts of parties said to have been filled with those very young girls. One such girl–now a grown woman–known by the pseudonyms “Katie Johnson” and “Jane Doe,” sued Trump for raping her at one of those parties when she was just 13. She had to drop her lawsuits, which is not unusual or an admission that the claims were false. We just can’t know.

Epstein’s plea agreement–the one accepted and abetted in part by Acosta–said that in exchange for his guilty plea, immunity would be granted to “any potential co-conspirators’’ in his crimes. As the Herald reports, ‘These accomplices or participants were not identified in the agreement, leaving it open to interpretation whether it possibly referred to other influential people who were having sex with underage girls at Epstein’s various homes or on his plane.”

Again, we can’t know if Trump benefits from that agreement and if that might have something to do with his lack of condemnation of Acosta now. What we do know is that he and other Republicans tend to care very loudly about sexual abuse and conflicts of interests and women in general when it serves them–when they’re chastizing Democrats and other liberal public figures. When it involves one of their own–Trump or Acosta or Roy Moore or any number of other men on their side of the aisle, their silence and their hypocrisy is deafening.

(image: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.