White House stands by Trump’s original ‘Access Hollywood’ defense
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said President Donald Trump stands by his original apology for his remarks recorded by the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape in which he described sexually assaulting women, and that his position hasn’t changed in the days after The New York Times reported the President had privately questioned the tape’s authenticity.
Sanders, pressed Monday on The New York Times reporting, said that Trump already “addressed this” and “made his position clear at that time.”
Trump apologized for the video that surfaced weeks before the 2016 election. When asked if that position has changed, Sanders said “No.”
“The President hasn’t changed his position,” she added. “I think if anything, what the President questions is the media’s reporting on that accurately.”
When asked about what reporting he is questioning, Sanders he had “already addressed it” and that he is questioning “the ones that are current.”
After the press briefing, CNN asked Sanders to clarify whether she was stating Trump disputes The New York Times report but she did not immediately respond.
Trump’s “Access Hollywood” tape comments are under renewed scrutiny as sexual assault allegations against powerful men in a variety of industries come to light, including those made against Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore. Trump has decided to stick with Moore, despite accusations from several women that Moore pursued sexual relationships with them when they were in their teens and he was in his 30s. The legal age of consent in Alabama is 16.
One woman alleges Moore touched her inappropriately when she was 14. Another woman has accused Moore of sexually assaulting her when she was 16.
Moore has repeatedly denied the allegations.
More than a dozen women accused Trump of sexual misconduct during the election in the wake of the “Access Hollywood” tape, which was recorded in 2005.
“When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything,” Trump said on the tape. “Grab them by the p****. You can do anything.”
The Times reported, however, that Trump “suggested to a senator earlier this year” that the recording was “not authentic” and later “repeated that claim to an adviser more recently.”
Those reported denials would contradict the apology he issued after the video was published in 2016.
“I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize,” he said in a short video statement.