Earlier this month, Charles Herbster, a Nebraska candidate for governor endorsed by Donald Trump, was accused of groping eight women. Six told the Nebraska Examiner that he “touched them inappropriately when they were saying hello or goodbye to him, or when they were posing for a photograph by his side,” and a seventh claimed he cornered her in private and forcibly kissed her. And in a turn of events that should shock literally no one, the former president has not only stood by the guy, but doubled down in his support of him.
Politico reports that after being informed of the allegations, Trump insisted Herbster needed to fight back harder and “back[ed] plans for [the candidate] to hold a press conference aggressively denying the allegations and pushing back at his adversaries.” Herbster’s campaign manager claimed the accusations are the work of a “political establishment” that is “smearing and trying to destroy” him with lies, and were supposedly coordinated in part by current Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts, whom Herbster’s campaign has suggested wants to take him down. (In response, Ricketts told Politico that it was “ridiculous to think that somebody could coordinate eight different people to talk to a reporter about this.”) Herbster also reportedly retained the services of a law firm Trump has used to defend himself, and has filed a lawsuit against state senator Julie Slama, who alleged Herbster put his hand up her skirt without her consent, for defamation. (Slama filed a countersuit Monday.) All of which apparently satisfied Trump, who is slated to appear with, and per Politico, “voice support for,” Herbster at a rally tonight.
Herbster sang Trump’s praises in an interview with Politico, calling him “a man of his word” for not ditching the Nebraskan even in light of the many sexual assault allegations. “It’s easy to be someone’s friend and be around someone when something’s perfect,” Herbster said. “But when something is imperfect, many people…flee, and he’s not that type of person.”
Of course, literally none of those claims are true. Trump is not a man of his word and is famously known for embracing and then publicly dumping and maligning people. What the ex-president is known for is prioritizing slavish loyalty and devotion above all else, which Herbster has provided since 2015. Trump is also known for defending men accused of mistreating women. When his aide Robert Porter resigned from the White House after accusations he abused two of his ex-wives, claims Porter denies, Trump noted that he “did a very good job when he was in the White House” and reportedly wanted to rehire him. When ex–Fox News host Bill O’Reilly was accused of sexual harassment, Trump called him a “good person,” said he didn’t believe O’Reilly “did anything wrong,” and insisted he shouldn’t have settled with his accusers. (O’Reilly has also denied the claims against him.) And of course, after Brett Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault, Trump went to bat for him, calling the then Supreme Court nominee “one of the finest human beings you will ever have the privilege of knowing or meeting.” Kavanaugh has also denied the allegations against him. And of course, Trump himself has denied allegations from more than two dozen women who have accused him of sexual misconduct, up to and including rape.
“To be treated in that way in a public event, in front of everyone, just to prove, I believe, that he could get away with it, and not having recourse, it’s terrifying,” one of Herbster’s accusers told the Nebraska Enquirer for its story published this month. “I’m scared for any young women that he would be dealing with in the future. Don’t send your daughters to work for this guy.” The outlet said it “corroborated six of the women’s accounts with at least one witness to each incident,” adding that “the other two women told at least one person about the incident on the same day it occurred,” all of whom confirmed the accounts. Following the report of the allegations, Ricketts said in a statement, “This is beyond horrible,” adding, “Charles W. Herbster should beg forgiveness of the women he has preyed upon and seek treatment. Sexual assault is criminal behavior and should disqualify anyone from elected leadership.”
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