Yesterday the news anchor Leeann Tweeden alleged that Senator Al Franken sexually assaulted her during a USO tour in December 2006, including with the allegations a troubling picture of Franken seeming to grope her while she slept. Franken later took full responsibility for his actions, calling for an ethics probe into them, and apologizing to Tweeden, which she has said she accepts. Franken’s actions have received widespread condemnation, including calls throughout politics that he should resign. And now, perhaps most damningly of all, Donald Trump, a man who knows a thing or two about sexual assault, has weighed in on the matter.
Yes, shudder to think what else he might’ve grabbed that woman by! The picture says it all, truly speaking a thousand words, just as a video, perhaps containing verified audio of someone boasting of sexual assault, speaks multitudes about the character of that person. Trump has been accused of sexual harassment and assault from 16 people now, including the rape of a 13-year-old girl and of his then-wife Ivanka, as detailed in court papers. The White House has officially stated that every single one of those 16 women are liars—as, presumably, are the now 9 women, many of whom were also teenagers, who have alleged sexual misconduct from Alabama Senatorial candidate Roy Moore, a subject about which Donald Trump has chosen not to comment.
But he has been less reticent to comment on Al Franken, choosing, finally, to believe women now that it benefits him politically. The addition of “Lesley Stahl tape?” in the tweet is a classic bit of Trumpian misdirection, seeding additional intrigue—in this case, a 1995 audio recording of Franken joking about raping 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl—into the mix, without actually implying anything. He’s merely asking a question here! As always, Trump operates best in the land of speculation, uncertainty, and conjecture—note the way he forces us to imagine terrible things happening in imaginary follow-up pictures—except, of course, when he needs to firmly denounce the 16 women who have said he sexually assaulted or harassed them. Then he’s back on terra firma: They’re all liars.
He also misspelled Frankenstein, because, in addition to being a terrible human, he is also a stupid one.