Bill Press: Unequal on sex charges

Bill Press: Unequal on sex charges
© Greg Nash

It’s hard to argue with what Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth Gillibrand2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser Midterms will show voters are tired of taking back seat to Wall Street McConnell: I won't be intimidated by protesters MORE (D-N.Y.) and Reps. Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierDems demand answers on Pentagon not recognizing Pride Month Overnight Defense: VA pick breezes through confirmation hearing | House votes to move on defense bill negotiations | Senate bill would set 'stringent' oversight on North Korea talks Overnight Defense: Defense spending bill amendments target hot-button issues | Space Force already facing hurdles | Senators voice 'deep' concerns at using military lawyers on immigration cases MORE (D-Calif.) and Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosDem generation gap widens Moulton looks to recruit new generation of Dem leaders Crowley stunner sets off new scramble among House Dems MORE (D-Ill.) say about the issue of sexual harassment: “When it comes to sexual assault, harassment, and the general mistreatment of women, we must be able to call out anyone, Democrat or Republican.”

After being ignored or vilified for so many years, the fact that women victims are being listened to today with accounts of sexual misconduct by men in power only makes sense if their charges are taken seriously, regardless of political party. Sadly, that’s not the case. Republicans still don’t seem to get the point.

Compare how leadership handled recent reports of congressional misconduct. Fifty-two year veteran Rep. John ConyersJohn James ConyersPortland activist stages ‘reparations happy hour’ Conyers III won't appear on primary ballot in race to replace his father Conyers's son in danger of missing ballot in Michigan MORE Jr. (D-Mich.) flatly denied charges of sexual harassment leveled against him by several women. Nonetheless, after waffling for a couple of days, Democratic leaders Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiHouse GOP reverses, cancels vote on Dem bill to abolish ICE Pelosi: 'The Russians have something on the president' Schumer: Does Putin have 'damaging information' on Trump? MORE (Calif.), Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerPelosi wants party leadership elections post-Thanksgiving The Hill's Morning Report — Trump denigrates NATO allies, floats 4 percent solution Dems struggle with unity amid leadership tensions MORE (Md.), and James Clyburn (S.C.) all called on Conyers to resign, absent any House Ethics Committee investigation. They’ve demanded the same of freshman Rep. Ruben KihuenRuben Jesus Kihuen BernalDanny Tarkanian wins Nevada GOP congressional primary Laxalt, Sisolak to face off in Nevada governor's race Two former Nevada congressmen set for rematch MORE (D-Nev.).

On the other side of the aisle, Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanGOP lambasts Trump over performance in Helsinki Trump stuns the world at Putin summit Former Trump aide says he canceled CNN appearance over 'atrocious' Helsinki coverage MORE (R-Wis.), who was quick to demand that Conyers resign, has still not called on Rep. Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdEx-lawmakers see tough job market with trade groups Republican wins right to replace Farenthold in Congress Supreme Court rules for Texas in redistricting case MORE (R-Texas) to step down, even though Farenthold’s acknowledged spending $84,000 of taxpayer dollars to settle a sexual harassment claim brought by a former staffer. Meanwhile, facing accusations from two women, Rep. Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksJordan weathering political storm, but headwinds remain Freedom Caucus bruised but unbowed in GOP primary fights Eric Schneiderman and #MeToo pose challenges for both parties MORE (R-Ariz.) abruptly resigned his seat — again, before we heard a peep from Speaker Ryan.

The contrast is equally shameful in the Senate, where 32 Democratic senators, including leaders Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerThis week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation Red-state Dem tells Schumer to 'kiss my you know what' on Supreme Court vote Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick MORE (N.Y.) and Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinThis week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation Dems launch pressure campaign over migrant families Kavanaugh paper chase heats up MORE (Ill.), called on their colleague Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenFranken offers Dems a line of questioning for Kavanaugh's 'weirdly specific bit of bulls---' The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — GOP lawmakers race to find an immigration fix Richard Painter puts out 'dumpster fire' in first campaign ad MORE (D-Minn.) to resign his seat. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP lambasts Trump over performance in Helsinki Overnight Defense: Washington reeling from Trump, Putin press conference Feehery: The long game MORE (R-Ky.), after admitting that he believed the women who accused Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of preying on them when they were teenagers, has backed away from his condemnation of Moore and is instead now hiding behind the cowardly excuse that he’ll let the people of Alabama decide today whether or not to send a pedophile to the Senate. If they do, McConnell and fellow spineless Republicans will no doubt embrace Moore as the people’s choice.

Hanging like a black cloud over the GOP’s support for Roy Moore, of course, are the multiple charges of sexual assault against President Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpShocking summit with Putin caps off Trump’s turbulent Europe trip GOP lambasts Trump over performance in Helsinki Trump stuns the world at Putin summit MORE. Indeed, it’s hard for Republicans to reject Moore after embracing Trump, because Moore is simply following the Trump playbook: deny, deny, attack, attack, and hope it will all go away.

Even U.N. Ambassador Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyWatchdog: First lady spokeswoman may have violated Hatch Act with ‘MAGA’ tweet Ryan: 'The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally' Guatemala asks President Trump to weaken anti-corruption commission MORE, a Trump loyalist, says that Trump’s accusers “deserve to be heard.” But that’s not the White House position. Trump himself still calls them liars and fabricators. And Trump’s attorney was in court last week, arguing that the president can’t be charged with a crime because he is, well, president.  Or, as Richard Nixon put it: “When the president does it, that means it is not illegal.”

From top to bottom, then, there’s a vast difference in how our two major parties are responding to charges of sexual harassment. It’s OK for Republicans, but not for Democrats. Instead of resigning, maybe Al Franken should have just changed his party.

Press is host of “The Bill Press Show” on Free Speech TV and author of “Buyer’s Remorse: How Obama Let Progressives Down.”