White House adviser: No hypocrisy in Trump attacking Franken

White House adviser: No hypocrisy in Trump attacking Franken
© Greg Nash

White House legislative director Marc Short said Friday that President Trump is not a hypocrite for attacking Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenTake Trump literally and seriously in Minnesota Ninth woman accuses Al Franken of inappropriate contact Al Franken to host SiriusXM radio show MORE (D-Minn.) over groping a woman, despite the fact that the president has faced his own charges of sexual harassment.

Speaking on CNN, Short argued that Franken has acknowledged sexual misconduct and that there is photographic evidence of it. In contrast, Trump has disputed and threatened to sue the women who have accused him of groping and harassment.

“The president has been clear that the allegations [of groping and harassment against him] were not true,” Short said.

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Short noted that the president has also apologized for the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape, in which he bragged about grabbing women and having his way with them because of his celebrity status.

“He was apologetic about [the tape] when it surfaced,” Short added. “He apologized to his wife and family and the American people about what he considered locker room behavior. He is not trying to excuse it. That's different than very visual evidence of what Al Franken did. The president is making the case that Al Franken was out condemning Roy Moore and others just a month ago and there is a level of hypocrisy there.”

Trump has put his aides in a tough spot by attacking Franken via Twitter on Friday. Critics immediately accused Trump of hypocrisy, pointing to the "Access Hollywood" tape and the accusations of sexual misconduct against Trump from more than a dozen women.

The White House has said that all of the women making accusations about Trump are lying.

The White House is also now forced to answer for why Trump is attacking Franken, a Democrat, but has not joined the calls of Washington Republicans demanding that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, a Republican, step aside.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday said the allegations against Moore are “very troubling and should be taken seriously” but that “the debate over whether Moore should exit the race “is a decision the people of Alabama need to make, not the president.”

But on Friday, Trump tweeted about Franken

"The Al Frankenstien [sic] picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words. Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps? And to think that just last week he was lecturing anyone who would listen about sexual harassment and respect for women. Lesley Stahl tape?"

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told Fox News that Trump was just weighing in "as he does on the news of the day" Friday. The Franken report broke on Thursday.

Short said that Trump had already done all he could do by backing Moore’s challenger, Sen. Luther StrangeLuther Johnson StrangeGOP frets over nightmare scenario for Senate primaries Roy Moore trails Republican field in Alabama The Hill's Morning Report — US strikes approved against Iran pulled back MORE (R-Ala.), in the primary.

“The president went down to Alabama and campaigned against Roy Moore,” Short said. “He campaigned for Luther Strange. The president was active in this campaign. He chose a different candidate … since the allegations surfaced, the president — even when he was traveling overseas — put out a statement saying if the allegations are true, he should step aside.”

“The president has been clear on this,” Short concluded. “At some point, we have to trust the people of Alabama to make the right decision. Everyone here in D.C. wants to decide for them what to do. The president weighed in and it's now up to them to make a decision.”