White House: Difference between Trump and Franken is that Trump has not admitted wrongdoing

Key Points
  • "Franken has admitted wrongdoing, and the president hasn't," press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday.
  • More than a dozen women have alleged sexual abuse at the hands of Donald Trump.
  • Trump has previously called the accusations "pure fiction" and threatened to sue his accusers.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders
Getty Images

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday told reporters that a key difference between an allegation of sexual misconduct against Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and more than a dozen such allegations against President Donald Trump is that, "Senator Franken has admitted wrongdoing, and the president hasn't."

Speaking at the daily White House briefing, Sanders also suggested that any investigation of the allegations against Trump – made by at least 14 different women – was not warranted because "the American people spoke very loud and clear when they elected this president."

The comments came a day after Franken apologized for groping a journalist during a 2006 U.S.O. trip to Afghanistan -- and just hours after Trump attacked the Minnesota senator on Twitter.

The apparent disconnect between the standard Trump applies to himself, and the one he applied to Franken, was underscored this week by Trump's refusal to respond to allegations of sexual misconduct by nine women against Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore – a scandal that threatens to engulf Trump's own party.

Sanders has previously said the president's position on Moore is that, "if the allegations are true," then Moore should step aside." But she has refused to spell out what specific evidence Trump would require to be convinced that the nine women are telling the truth.

Trump has previously called the allegations by his accusers "pure fiction," and said the now infamous 2005 tape of him boasting about how he grabs women's genitals "fake" and "made-up stuff."

Following the emergence of many of the allegations in 2016, Trump repeatedly pledged that he would sue the women who alleged he sexually abused them. But so far, Trump does not appear to have filed any lawsuits against his accusers.

Asked Friday why Trump hasn't kept his pledge to take his female accusers to court, Sanders demurred.

"I haven't asked him, and I'd have to ask him and get back to you," she said.

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