After delay, Clinton and Obamas rip Weinstein

After delay, Clinton and Obamas rip Weinstein
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Former President Obama and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonProminent Putin critic: If Trump turns me over, I'm dead Dems unveil slate of measures to ratchet up pressure on Russia Trump tweets old video of Clinton talking up 'a strong Russia' MORE both denounced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein on Tuesday as allegations of rape and sexual harassment increased against the prominent Democratic donor.

The critical statements came roughly five days after the scandal broke and as the leading Democrats faced mounting criticism from Republicans for staying on the sidelines.

“Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein,” the former president and former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaMichelle Obama joins stars in launch of voter registration push The Hill's Morning Report — Russia furor grips Washington Michelle Obama launches voter registration initiative ahead of midterms: report MORE said in the joint statement.

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“Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status,” they said. “We should celebrate the courage of women who have come forward to tell these painful stories. And we should work to build a culture — including by empowering our girls and teaching our boys decency and respect — so we can make such behavior less prevalent in the future.”

Clinton in a statement released shortly after new reports were published about Weinstein said she was “shocked and appalled by the revelations.”

“The behavior described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated. Their courage and the support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behavior,” Clinton said.

Clinton and Democrats have come under criticism from Republicans over Weinstein, who gave more than $1.4 million to federal campaigns and political action committees, mostly to Democrats, between 1990 and 2016, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

On Tuesday, new reports that Weinstein had allegedly raped several women, and that his harassment victims included stars such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, ensured another huge day of coverage and questions about donations for any Democrat willing to appear on television.

Ronna Romney McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, took swipes via social media at both Clinton and Michelle Obama.

“So Michelle Obama speaks out against women in the @GOP, but won’t stand up for the women assaulted by Weinstein?” she questioned on Twitter.

Michelle Obama praised Weinstein in 2013 as a “wonderful human being, a good friend and just a powerhouse.”

In the 2012 cycle, Weinstein donated more than $5,000 to Obama for America and more than $66,000 to the Obama Victory Fund, according to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Weinstein was also a bundler for President Obama, including teaming up with Vogue editor Anna Wintour for at least two fundraisers in 2012, where a top-flight roster of liberal donors paid $35,800 to co-host and individuals paid $10,000 each to get in.

Patti Solis Doyle, Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign manager, said ahead of Clinton’s comments that her silence was “disappointing” given her long-standing work on the rights of women and girls.

“And as long as I have known her, she really has walked the walk and talked the talk on this. ... So personally it is, it is disappointing that she hasn’t come out and condemned Harvey Weinstein,” she told CNN hours before Clinton’s statement was released.

Weinstein donated $5,400 to Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, as well as more than $33,000 to the Hillary Victory Fund — a joint operation between the campaign, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and state parties, according to FEC records.

He was also a bundler for the Clinton campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Pressed on Tuesday if the campaign should return the money, Clinton’s running mate, Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineGraham would consider US-Russia military coordination in Syria Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick Election Countdown: Latest on the 2018 Senate money race | Red-state Dems feeling the heat over Kavanaugh | Dem doubts about Warren | Ocasio-Cortez to visit Capitol Hill | Why Puerto Ricans in Florida could swing Senate race MORE (D-Va.), said that “the campaign is over.”

Republicans were playing defense on issues of sexual harassment just a year ago after the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape in which then-GOP presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL freezes policy barring players from protesting during anthem McConnell spokesman on Putin visit: 'There is no invitation from Congress' Petition urges University of Virginia not to hire Marc Short MORE talked about grabbing women “by the p---y.”

Many Democrats said Republicans criticizing their party for accepting donations from Weinstein were hypocritical given Trump’s comments.

Yet it was Republicans on Tuesday who were continuing their attacks.

The House GOP’s campaign aim launched a video urging its counterpart, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), to give back the money from the Democratic mega-donor.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Weinstein gave the DCCC $16,200 in 2013 and $5,000 in 2011.

“In light of these allegations, it’s time for Democrats to return Harvey Weinstein’s dirty money,” National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) spokesman Matt Gorman said in a statement provided to The Hill. “The DCCC’s silence is unconscionable and they cannot excuse years of abuse by one of their donors.”

Republicans are also using Democrats’ own words on Weinstein funding against them. 

The NRCC video included a clip of an interview with Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyDem senator ties Kavanaugh confirmation vote to Trump-Putin controversy Full interview: Chris Murphy speaks out on the Trump-Putin meeting and what it means Dem senator: NATO has become 'functionally obsolete' under Trump MORE (D-Conn.), who said that those who received money from Weinstein “should probably give it back.”

A DCCC spokeswoman told The Washington Post on Tuesday night that they will donate contributions from Weinstein dating back to 1993 to Futures Without Violence, a group aimed at ending domestic violence and sexual assault. 

The DCCC didn’t previously respond to a request for comment, while Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said the decision was for each lawmaker to make.

“As I said, members are going to have to decide what they want to do, or whether they want to do anything on that matter, and who they think the money ought to go to,” he said.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee didn’t respond to a request for comment on Tuesday about what it would do with Weinstein campaign contributions.

Several Democratic senators, including Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats slam Trump for considering Putin’s ’absurd’ request to question Americans Judge Kavanaugh confounds the left This week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation MORE (N.Y.), have said they will give money received from Weinstein to charity.

Spokespeople for Sens. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate approves resolution warning Trump not to hand over US officials Deal to fix family separations hits snag in the Senate Senate Democrats block resolution supporting ICE MORE (Ill.) and Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowLobbying world The Hill's Morning Report — Trump, Putin meet under cloud of Mueller’s Russia indictments Dem senator: Kavanaugh sides with 'wealthiest special interests' MORE (Mich.) — the second- and fourth-ranking Senate Democrat, respectively — confirmed separately on Tuesday they will donate previous campaign contributions from Weinstein.

The DNC has come under fire for saying it would give away a fraction of its Weinstein contributions.

It has received about $300,000 from Weinstein over the years, federal election records show. 

But the group said late last week that it would donate $30,000 it received from him in the last campaign cycle to EMILY’s List, which supports women running for office who support abortion rights; Emerge America, which recruits and trains Democratic women for office; and Higher Heights, which supports black women running for office.

A spokesperson for EMILY’s List, which hasn’t received any direct contributions from Weinstein, confirmed Tuesday that the group will keep the DNC’s donation.

“EMILY’s List plans to continue our work to elect more women to positions of leadership so no woman has to endure sexual harassment at the hands of a powerful man again,” said spokeswoman Julie McClain Downey.