Three women have come forth accusing U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland of sexual harassment. Sondland, a star witness in the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Trump, reportedly made sexual advances on the three women and then “he retaliated against them professionally after they rejected his advances.”
All the alleged incidents took place prior to his ambassadorship, while he was chairman of Provenance Hotels.
One woman — who was a potential business partner — says Sondland “took her to tour a room in a hotel he owns, only to then grab her face and try to kiss her.” She rejected the kiss, and Sondland backed out on investing in her business. Another woman, who was a work associate, claims Sondland exposed himself to her. “She also recalls falling over the back of a couch trying to get away from him. After she made her lack of interest clear, she says Sondland called her, screaming about her job performance.” The next woman, nearly thirty years younger than him, met him to discuss a potential job. According to the woman, Sondland “pushed himself against her and kissed her. She shoved him away. She says his job help stopped.”
Ambassador Sondland denies the allegations and blames the allegations on politics. “In decades of my career in business and civic affairs, my conduct can be affirmed by hundreds of employees and colleagues with whom I have worked in countless circumstances,” Sondland said in a statement. “These untrue claims of unwanted touching and kissing are concocted and, I believe, coordinated for political purposes. They have no basis in fact, and I categorically deny them.”
Sondland claims these women are acting out of retaliation for not supporting them in their business ventures. Sondland’s lawyer, Jim McDermott, suggests that ProPublica and Portland Monthly, the publications responsible for breaking the story, “are attempting to affect Ambassador Sondland’s credibility as a fact witness in the pending impeachment inquiry.” He added, “Given the politically charged climate in which current events are unfolding, some might consider this to be veiled witness tampering.”
However, according to the story, “friends, family members or colleagues of the women recall being told about the encounters at the time.” Reporting on the story also began in October, which, ProPublica/Portland Monthly notes, was “around the time of Sondland’s initial impeachment testimony, in which he backed the president’s assertion that there was no quid pro quo involving Ukraine.”
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolisv