Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) is apparently fine with Trump's sexual misconduct as long as he only admits it on tape, and not in court.
Republican cowardice in the face of Trump's outrageous behavior seems to know no bounds. One GOP candidate for governor and current member of Congress, Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD), said that she is comfortable ignoring Trump's sexual misconduct because he hasn't been tried in court for it.
On Sunday morning's edition of CBS News' "Face the Nation," anchor Margaret Brennan reminded Noem that Trump often denigrates women — as he did this week when he called former White House senior adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman a "dog" and a "lowlife" — and that he has been accused by at least 19 women of either sexual assault or sexual harassment.
"Does any of that make you uncomfortable as a member of his party?" Brennan asked.
"Let me be very clear, I don't think there's anyone that would say that they approve of any kind of sexual misconduct," Noem began.
But the rest of her comment made one thing clear: she may not approve of sexual misconduct, but she is certainly willing to ignore it if it's politically inconvenient.
"We've seen many important people in this country fall when they've gone through the judicial process of that being confirmed," Noem said. "That isn't where the president is today. But I tend to not focus on dissecting the president's tweets or his language. I'm focused on policies, that's what my job is."
Noem's claims are stunning. If no victim of sexual misconduct was ever believed without a criminal conviction or some other court action, the #MeToo movement would have never taken off.
Even Harvey Weinstein, whose downfall fueled the #MeToo movement, has yet to be convicted, although he has been indicted on a raft of sexual assault charges.
That's not because the accusers are untrustworthy, or because the perpetrators don't deserve to be punished in some way. It's because sexual misconduct is extremely difficult to prosecute. It's not just harder to gather conclusive evidence for than most other crimes; it's also harder to convince a jury of because we live in such a victim-blaming culture.
Trump may not have been indicted yet for sexual misconduct, but the evidence that he committed it is overwhelming.
It's no accident that women are being discouraged from running as Republicans under Trump. The entire Republican Party has dedicated itself to protecting an alleged sexual predator — and the few women who do run on the GOP ticket are expected to fall in line.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.