Amid resignations and dismissals of men in government, news media, and entertainment who have been accused of sexual misconduct, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) suggested on Thursday that President Donald Trump should consider stepping down in light of his own history of sexual harassment and assault.
“We have a president of the United States who acknowledged on a tape widely seen all over the country that he’s assaulted women, so I would hope maybe the president of the United States might pay attention of what’s going on and also think about resigning,” Sanders told Gayle King on CBS This Morning.
Sanders’s comments came hours before his colleague, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), announced that he would resign from his seat amid accusations that he sexually harassed women, and two days after Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) said he would retire in the wake of allegations that he touched staffers inappropriately and demanded sexual favors.
“I would hope maybe the president of the United States might pay attention of what’s going on and also think about resigning.”—Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
The remarks also came as two separate petitions gained traction, both calling for inquiries into the president’s sexual misconduct.
The grassroots group CREDO had garnered more than 152,000 supporters as of Thursday afternoon in its call for a federal investigation into allegations of government officials’ abuses, starting with Trump’s.
Susan O’Connor, a MoveOn.org member from Wisconsin, also gathered about 157,000 signatures on her petition demanding that Congress and the Justice Department launch probes.
“You don’t get to be my age without lots of personal experience that you hear about with #MeToo,” said O’Connor. “These sexist attacks on women lead to shame and humiliation in personal and professional life, and I’m angry so I started this petition. I want young women to know they don’t have to put up with it. I want men to know they’re going to be held accountable.”
In a tape released a month before the 2016 presidential election, Trump was heard bragging about sexually assaulting women. He has also been publicly accused by 16 women of sexual misconduct, including molestation, harassment, and rape. He’s responded to the allegations by calling the women “liars” who were seeking “ten minutes of fame” and in at least one case attacked an accuser’s physical appearance.
As Sanders mentioned, Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama is another notable exception to the recent trend of men facing the consequences of their sexual misconduct. Moore has been accused by nine women of sexual misconduct or worse. Two of the women have said he assaulted them when they were between the ages of 14 and 15. Trump has given Moore his full support ahead of his special election scheduled for next Tuesday against Democrat Doug Jones, officially offering his endorsement earlier this week.
Sanders added that a major cultural shift is needed in the U.S. as more reports come out regarding abuse of women.
“What I worry about right now, as we speak, in restaurants and in offices all over this country, where you have bosses who are not famous, there is harassment of women and women are being intimidated. We need a cultural revolution in this country,” the senator said.
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