White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders offered a peculiar defense of President Donald Trump’s decision to attack Sen. Al Franken on Twitter over a new sexual misconduct revelation, but remain silent about serious sexual assault allegations against Roy Moore, the US Senate candidate in Alabama.
“Senator Franken has admitted wrongdoing and the president hasn’t,” Sanders told reporters. “I think that’s a very clear distinction.”
Trump’s tweets condemning Franken on Thursday drew instant charges of hypocrisy. More than a dozen women accused Trump of sexual harassment or assault during the 2016 campaign.
Sanders also appeared to argue that media coverage of Trump’s alleged misconduct during the election, and his subsequent victory, showed he was innocent. “The American people I think spoke loud and clear when they elected this president,” she said.
Sanders’ rationale appears to leave out the leaked Access Hollywood recording of Trump from 2005, in which he brags about grabbing a woman’s “pussy” without her consent. Trump admitted to the crude remarks, but said it was harmless “locker room” banter.
On Thursday, the White House continued to dismiss criticism of Trump’s silence regarding Moore, arguing the president has already asked Moore to step aside if the allegations are true. Sanders has repeatedly failed to explain how Trump could establish the veracity of the accounts put forth by Moore’s accusers.