US President Donald Trump has mocked the #MeToo movement as he intensified his criticism of the campaign against sexual harassment and assault, which nearly hit his Supreme Court pick Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Donald Trump’s claim that #MeToo prevents him from using a certain phrase is his latest volley against the movement, which became a force after sexual assault allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein surfaced last year.
“There’s an expression, but under the rules of #MeToo, I am not allowed to use that expression anymore. I can’t do it,” Mr Trump said at a mid-term election rally in Pennsylvania, and then he pointed at the phrase “the girl that got away”.
“It’s the person that got away. The old days, it was a little different than Pennsylvania to it,” he said as he spoke about winning the state in the 2016 presidential election.
Pointing to the media, Mr Trump said he would use the original phrase, except for the media. “I would do it except for these people up there. They would say,’ did you hear what President Trump said? Did you hear what he said?'” he said imitating reporters.
“So, there is an expression, but we’ll change the expression. Pennsylvania was always the person that got away. That’s pretty good,” he said amidst applause from the audience.
The revelation of the allegations against Weinstein inspired many women to reveal their own stories of sexual assault, but Donald Trump has recently taken shots at the #MeToo movement by expressing concern for men who are accused of sexual assault or harassment.
Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s recent confirmation hearings renewed attention to the topic as the Senate considered college professor Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her. The US President had said the notion that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted someone and that the allegations from Ms Ford and other women could be taken as fact made this a “very scary time for young men in America.”
Donald Trump had earlier mocked the #MeToo movement at a rally in July. He did so while simultaneously mocking Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and saying that should she win the Democratic nomination in 2020 and they were to debate, he would toss an ancestry test to her and dare her to take it.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, at least 13 women accused Donald Trump of misbehaviour, ranging from sexual harassment to sexual assault.
They came forward in the wake of a 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape that was released in October 2016 in which he is caught saying on a hot mic: “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. … Grab them by the p***y. You can do anything.”
The President denies all the allegations against him.