Pence Cowers From Criticizing Trump After Sexual Abuse Verdict: ‘Never Heard or Witnessed Behavior of That Nature’
Despite twice-impeached-once-indicted former president Trump voicing support for his followers who wanted to hang Mike Pence, the former VP himself is still reluctant to criticize Trump, even in the wake of a jury finding Trump liable for sexual abuse and defamation.
On Tuesday, a jury ruled in favor of E. Jean Carroll, a magazine columnist who alleged that Trump raped her in the dressing room of a department store in 1996. Though the jury did not affirm her claim that Trump raped her, they did find him liable of sexual battery and defamation, ordering Trump to pay Carroll $5 million in damages.
In an interview shortly after the ruling came down, Pence cowered away from criticizing his former boss specifically over the sexual misconduct portion of things.
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“I would tell you, in my four and a half years serving alongside the president, I never heard or witnessed behavior of that nature,” Pence told NBC News.
The infamous Access Hollywood tape, in which the twice-impeached former president openly bragged about grabbing women by their genitals, was released in 2016, just a month before the election. Pence had been Trump’s running mate for roughly five months at that point.
In September 2016, Trump not-so-subtly implied that he physically checked out his opponent Hillary Clinton, saying “When she walked in front of me, believe me, I wasn’t impressed.” That same month, Trump called Alicia Machado, the 1996 Miss Universe winner from Venezuela, “disgusting” and called out a supposed sex tape of hers.
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Trump also referred to the height of the #MeToo movement as “a very scary time for young men in America,” and in 2018, Bob Woodward’s book revealed that Trump said men can “never admit” to mistreatment of women.
“You’ve got to deny, deny, deny and push back on these women,” Trump said at the time. “If you admit to anything and any culpability, then you’re dead. … You’ve got to be strong. You’ve got to be aggressive. You’ve got to push back hard. You’ve got to deny anything that’s said about you. Never admit.”
And then of course, there was Trump’s appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, despite multiple allegations against him of sexual misconduct, including new ones that surfaced this year.
All that said, Pence also told NBC News that he doubts the American public will care all that much about Trump’s own sexual misconduct, even with a ruling.
“It’s just one more instance where — at a time when American families are struggling, when our economy is hurting, when the world seems to become a more dangerous place almost every day — just one more story focusing on my former running mate that I know is a great fascination to members of the national media, but I just don’t think is where the American people are focused,” Pence said.
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