Where is the Leader in a Time of Moral Crisis?
Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
Sadly, it is not surprising the growing number of women who have come forward from a wide spectrum of professional as well as political circles accusing men of having sexually harassed and abused them. The selective response of President Trump to these reports is not only disturbing but incriminating. No one accused of sexual misconduct and unacceptable behavior should be excused; even those running for the Senate from Alabama. One would have assumed that what the country needs now is clear, unequivocal moral leadership from the President. What the American people are receiving instead, is a politicized response from a President, who might likely also be placed in the same category as all those other sexual harassers, predators, and abusers.
The President left consideration of the charges against Judge Roy Moore to be decided by the voters in Alabama, after he had avoided commenting on the developments for several days. Trump suggested that he was out of the country and until he fully assessed the information would not discuss the subject. He quickly and appropriately criticized Senator Al Franken’s actions within hours of its disclosure yesterday. Yet Trump has been totally incapable of acknowledging his own historic failings.
The truly curious question is–if indeed there are so many women who allegedly have had been harassed or assaulted by the President—why they have largely not spoken out in a persistent and direct manner. While there were some Trump victims who did come forward after the Access Hollywood tape was released, since then there has been extraordinary silence.
It would appear that either there indeed are really no other women who were attacked by Trump, or they have been “bought-off”. If this latter suggestion is correct than they must have all received so much money which they stand to forfeit should they publically discuss any sexually inappropriate contact they had with Trump. Victims may also have signed documents which prohibit them from disclosing any activities they may have had with the President; of any sort. Alternatively, there is the possibility that Trump is indeed totally truthful and being maligned by partisan detractors.
If the former suggestion is true, it helps to explain why the President is unwilling to do what even his daughter has done and to call out Judge Moore. If anyone turns on Trump, the political as well as the personal consequences for him could be devastating. Just as the President rationalizes, defends, and fails to call out President Putin for tampering with the U.S. election—for reasons which are similarly inexplicable—so too here the public is left without any explanation.