News & Politics

Democrats Almost Brought Trump Accusers to the State of the Union

Participants march against sexual assault and harassment at the #MeToo March in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Earlier this week, a Democratic congressional staffer let slip that House members were planning to invite some of the women who accused President Donald Trump of sexual assault to attend Trump’s first State of the Union address. Congresswomen later announced the plan had been scuttled, but what with Oprah Winfrey’s name exciting Democrats and some recent identity politics pushes from that party, it seems the liberal party is setting up to embrace #MeToo as a political push.

While the sexual assault outcry began under President Barack Obama and became part of Hilary Clinton’s campaign, the #MeToo movement fully came into being with the allegations against notorious Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein was credibly accused by more than 50 women of using his position in Hollywood to force them to have sex with him in order to advance their careers.

After Weinstein, the dam burst. Allegations flooded out, and for every Republican like Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, there was a Democrat like Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.). Moore lost, Franken stepped down, and the accused started falling like flies.

Even though the movement had become post-partisan, Democrats longed to make it about their party again. After all, the disastrous “Dear Colleague” letter on Title IX sexual assault on college campuses had been issued by President Obama’s Department of Education, and Trump’s department had rescinded it. Hillary Clinton had baldly proclaimed, “Every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported.”

Why didn’t these claims take hold? Perhaps because Americans knew they were problematic. In the case of the “Dear Colleague” letter, Obama’s policy unleashed a sexual assault witch hunt that denied due process rights to (mostly) men accused of sexual assault. The accused couldn’t face their accusers, their testimony was invalidated, and judges were taught to believe the accuser against the accused.

In the case of Clinton, her calls that every “survivor” should be “believed” fell on deaf ears because she had dismissed the accusations against her husband as “bimbo eruptions.”

#MeToo happened because it was nonpartisan. It was beyond partisan — taking down Democrats and Republicans — and so it should remain.

The movement against sexual assault isn’t over, and that’s a good thing. But Democrats could derail the movement — by making it about them.

On Sunday, the Democrats’ Twitter account released a super-charged identity politics message: “Let’s elect: Black women, LGBT women, Muslim women, disabled women, Jewish women, Latina women, Millennial women, Jewish women, AAPI women, More. Women.”

In “The Liberty Files” podcast, Alexandra DeSanctis — a millennial woman — noted that the Democrats’ message is hypocritical: they claim to want to elect “More. Women.” full stop, but they would never support her, a pro-life Catholic woman. As in the case of Clinton declaring her support for sexual assault survivors, the Democrats will champion the oppressed, but only if they fit the Democrats’ political narrative.

One of the lesser-known stories about the Golden Globes involved the Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale. At the awards ceremony, the team behind that show got up and declared their allegiance to the anti-Trump “resistance.” They also insinuated that Trump is a Handmaid’s Tale president — an utterly false and disgusting slander.

When Oprah Winfrey’s powerful Golden Globes speech sparked suggestions that she should run for president, there was no doubt what party she would represent. Winfrey endorsed Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, after all. Thrilling as her speech was, it was not about politics — it was about #MeToo.

But Democrats rushed to her cause, with the Democrats Twitter account tweeting quotes from her speech and Democratic operatives discussing her run. The assumption was that any celebrity endorsing #MeToo would be running from the Left.

Finally, some Democrats had the idea of bringing some of the 17 women who have accused President Trump of sexually assaulting them to the State of the Union address. They also discussed wearing black, in solidarity with the “Time’s Up” movement at the Golden Globes.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), in one of her more level-headed moments, struck down this idea. “I don’t think that that would be helpful in terms of what we need to do for the American people,” Pelosi declared.

This is particularly important given recent revelations that Media Matters has been funding sexual assault complaints against Republicans, and especially against Trump.

Despite Pelosi’s reserve, Democrats are taking up the sexual assault issue, and it is only a matter of time before candidates start pointing the finger at Republicans as the party of “toxic masculinity,” “patriarchy,” and assault.

The truth is far more complicated, and for #MeToo to effectively do its work in calling out assaulters, in fostering a culture that is safe for women, and in separating the true from the false accusers, it needs to avoid political attachments — especially to the Democratic Party of Hillary Clinton and Al Franken.

Even if the allegations against Donald Trump are true, it would do the #MeToo movement no favors to have Trump accusers at the State of the Union. Pelosi deserves praise for putting an end to that idea.

Nevertheless, Americans need to be alerted to the likelihood that Democrats will try to twist the cultural moment against sexual assault into a political issue. If they succeed in doing so, they will alienate about half of America from an important cultural reckoning, and arrest the process of debate and healing that needs to come from the #MeToo movement.

It is important for just one accused man to prove his innocence, in order to balance out the movement and begin the process of healing. Guilty men should indeed be tarred publicly, but accusations do not prove guilt. #MeToo has to run its course, for the good of American society. That cannot happen if it is prematurely aborted by political infighting.