While the vast majority of the Trump experience has been an unmitigated horror show that will take our nation years to recover from, there is a silver lining to be found in the way the cover — or hood, if you will — has been yanked away on the festering corruption and criminality that runs through our political and financial elites.
As two Presidents grapple with the fallout from their relationships with recently arrested billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, yet another one of Trump’s political choices is having the skeletons pulled from his closet.
President Trump’s nominee for the military’s second-highest position, U.S. Strategic Command head Gen. John Hyten, has been accused of sexual assault by an Army colonel who now says that she is willing to testify against him to the Senate Armed Forces Committee.
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The Hill reports that “the woman — who began working for Hyten in November 2016 but was relieved of her duties in 2018 — claims that he made ‘abusive sexual contact’ with her more than six times, including in a hotel room during the Reagan National Defense Forum in California in December 2017.”
She explained to the Associated Press how he subsequently tried to ruin her career, accused her of “toxic leadership behavior,” and issued her a letter of reprimand. After that, she tried to retire but the Army moved her to Washington instead after finding her retirement “coerced.”
An investigation by the Air Force found no evidence of the alleged incidents but also found “no evidence that she was lying.” Hyten’s accuser has rejected their findings and argues that “the military justice system that handled her case was flawed.”
That much we know is true. Sexual assault in the military rose by a staggering 50% last year, and that’s just what’s being reported. Victims are often reluctant to come forward, fearing retaliation like Hyten’s accuser faced and knowing that the military won’t handle the case well.
Out of 6,000 unrestricted reports of sexual assault in the military last year, only 300 have been prosecuted at all. On top of that, punishment is usually meted out outside the court system, and “could be as minor as a stern admonishment” according to retired Air Force judge and prosecutor Don Christensen.
If Hyten’s nomination for the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is revoked over this incident, it will be one more name on the long list of Trump appointees who have been accused of heinous abuse.
Trump’s Supreme Court appointee Brett Kavanaugh was credibly accused of sexual assault but was confirmed anyway; his original Labor Secretary, Andrew Pudzer, was forced to withdraw himself from the nomination after old allegations of domestic abuse surfaced; his current Labor Secretary Alex Acosta’s job is now in jeopardy after his role in arranging convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s sweetheart plea deal was exposed. White House aide Rob Porter resigned in disgrace after domestic abuse allegations emerged. Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski have also been accused of abusing women.
Hyten is only the latest Trump nominee to have to suddenly face allegations from his past — and hopefully will be one of the few who end up having to pay for them. For far too long, powerful men have preyed on the women around them with impunity, confident that a patriarchal power structure would insulate them from the consequences of their heinous actions.
Now it’s up to the Senate Armed Forces Committee to get to the bottom of this and make sure that justice is served.