Conservative lawyer George Conway — the spouse of White House Senior Advisor Kellyanne Conway — has long been a thorn in President Trump’s side as a rare Republican who always holds the president accountable for his actions.
Conway’s thorn was more like a switchblade today as he penned a blistering editorial in The Washington Post that compared the recent rape allegations against Donald Trump by advice columnist E. Jean Carroll to the furor over a similar incident involving Bill Clinton back in 1978.
The long-time Republican attorney begins his op-ed with a scene from Trump’s 2016 campaign right before his second presidential debate with Hillary Clinton in October where — in an effort to counteract the effects of the release of the Access Hollywood tape where Trump bragged about his ability to grab women wherever he damn wanted to — the president assembled a group of women who all alleged to have been sexually assaulted by Bill Clinton.
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One of the women, Juanita Broaddrick, made a devastating accusal of criminal sexual assault towards the former president and spouse of Trump’s challenger.
“Mr. Trump may have said some bad words,” she said, “but Bill Clinton raped me.”
Conway goes on to describe how Trump weaponized Broaddrick’s statement at a rally the very next evening and how Republicans again “rallied to her cause” again after having backed her allegations during the Clinton administration.
“The next night, at a campaign rally in Ambridge, Pa., Trump quoted Broaddrick as saying ‘Hillary Clinton threatened me after Bill Clinton raped me,’ and called Bill Clinton ‘a predator,’ ‘the worst abuser of women ever to sit in the Oval Office.’”
The op-ed then goes on to prove that former President Clinton must hand over that ignoble title to the new occupant of the Oval Office.
Conway details the harrowing story that E. Jean Carroll revealed this week of her rape in a Bergdorf Goodman’s dressing room by Donald Trump in the mid-90s, how she told her friends about it at the time, and how she failed to report it to the police.
In acknowledging President Trump’s denials of Carroll’s account as “fake news,” Conway points out the discrepancy between Trump’s reaction to his accuser and his embrace of the veracity of the allegations made by Bill Clinton’s supposed victim.
“But Trump called Broaddrick “courageous,” and if Broaddrick was courageous, then certainly Carroll is as well. For Carroll’s story is at least as compelling as Broaddrick’s — if not more so,” Conway writes.
“And that is because Carroll’s claim, for a number of reasons, actually rests upon a significantly stronger foundation than Broaddrick’s.”
“For one thing, before she went public with her story, Broaddrick had repeatedly denied that Clinton had assaulted her, even under oath: In an affidavit she had submitted in Paula Jones’s sexual harassment case against Clinton, Broaddrick had sworn that the allegations “that Mr. Clinton had made unwelcome sexual advances toward me in the late seventies … are untrue,” that the press had previously sought “corroboration of these tales,” but that she had “repeatedly denied the allegations.” (Disclosure: I provided behind-the-scenes pro bono legal assistance to Jones’s lawyers.)”
Conway goes onto say that the “sheer number of claims that have now surfaced against Trump — claims in which women have accused Trump of engaging in unwelcome or forcible sexual conduct or assault against them” far outnumber the accusations against Clinton, which mostly concerned rumors or allegations of consensual affairs.
He also points out that the statement Trump made on the Access Hollywood tape is precisely what Carroll alleges happened to her.
The cherry on top of Conway’s argument against believing Trump’s protestations of innocence is the fact that the president has already made an easily refutable lie in his denials of ever having met the journalist and advice columnist making the accusations of forcible rape — since a published photo shows them together.
Conway’s persuasive op-ed ends with a plea to his fellow Republicans to abandon their hypocrisy and treat Carroll’s charges against Trump with the same vehement condemnation that they have leveled at Bill Clinton.
“Republicans or conservatives who promoted Broaddrick’s charges would be hypocritical if they fail to champion Carroll and condemn Trump,” Conway concludes.
Anyone taking bets on how many Republicans heed his call?
Perhaps Congressman Justin Amash can help lead the internal GOP faction on this issue.
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Original reporting by George Conway at The Washington Post.