Inside the embattled White House, worried advisers to Donald Trump hope a victory Tuesday by controversial judge Roy Moore for a Senate seat in Alabama will dampen enthusiasm to use the issue of sexual misconduct to further weaken a damaged president.
If Moore, an accused sexal predator who had admitted questionable relationships with teenagers and high school girls in the 1970s, wins in solidly Republican Alabama, Trump will feel emboldened and safe from renewed attention on his own questionable sexual habits and treatment of women.
“He was literally caught on tape saying he does this — it was a big deal — and he still won,” a GOP strategist tells The Washington Post. “They think he’s invincible on this issues,, because he survived the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape.”
That tape caught Trump bragging about doing anything he want to women, including grabbing their genitals.
But other White House sources say concern over the heightened public awareness of sexual harassment by men in powerful positions make Trump “public enemy number one” increasingly in public view.
Polls shows many Americans feel Trump is guilty of sexual misconduct and that his denials are just part of a pattern of a president who is caught in several lies a day. Fact-checking services say Trump has been caught in more than 1,500 falsehoods in less than a year in office and his behavior lately adds more exaggerations and false statements to that tally.
“He’s a cornered man with,” says another GOP adviser. “Such guilty men get caught more and more often in increased lies and mistakes.”
Trump is personally counting on a win by Moore in Tuesday’s special election to quell the latest outcry sparked by a press conference and TV interview Monday by three women who listed what they said were his sexual assaults on them.
The trio — former Miss USA contestant Samantha Holvey,, sales executive Jessica Leeds and receptionist Rachel Crooks — repeated their stories of a sexually obsessed man out of control over the years leading up to his improbable presidential win in 2016.
Holvey said she didn’t “want to go through all this again” because of the backlash against her when she went public in 2016 but said the renewed attention of seuxal predators gave her hope that people might be willing to listen this time around.
“As a group, there might be more of an impact,” she said Monday. “The environment’s different. Let’s try again.”
UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, a former South Carolina governor appointed by Trump, said Sunday that women who feel assaulted “should be heard” by Americans and government. When asked if she included Trump’s victims, she said yes.
“They should be heard, and they should be dealt with,” Haley said when asked on CBS’s “Face the Nation” about the allegations against Trump. “And I think any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way, they have every right to speak up.”
On social media, the mood also seems to be shifting against Trump. In discussions about the sexual harassment that has that has cost three members of Congress their jobs — so far — and sunk the careers of others Hollywood and corporations, the question asked most often now is: “What about Trump?”
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