McSally backs Pentagon nominee accused of sexual assault

McSally backs Pentagon nominee accused of sexual assault
© Greg Nash

Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyMedia's selective outrage exposed in McSally-Raju kerfuffle Poll: Overwhelming majority say news media making US more politically divided Bill Kristol on McSally calling CNN reporter a liberal hack: 'I guess I'm liberal' MORE (R-Az.), who has spoken of her experience being sexually assaulted in the military, said Tuesday that she does not believe the sexual assault allegation against President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rails against impeachment in speech to Texas farmers Trump administration planning to crack down on 'birth tourism': report George Conway on Trump adding Dershowitz, Starr to legal team: 'Hard to see how either could help' MORE’s nominee for vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

McSally said Tuesday at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee that she had “full confidence” in Gen. John Hyten, who has been accused by Army Col. Kathryn Spletstoser of unwanted sexual advances, including kissing, hugging and rubbing, in 2017.

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Spletsoser has said Hyten’s advances escalated until he pressed against her in a hotel room and ejaculated on her while kissing her at the Reagan National Defense Forum.

While McSally, who earlier this year spoke of being raped by a superior officer in the Air Force, said she took the allegations “extremely seriously” but that she had reviewed the evidence and concluded “Hyten is innocent.”

“Sexual assault happens in the military. It just didn’t happen here,” she added.

Hyten has denied all the allegations, saying at his confirmation hearing Tuesday “I want to state for you and the American people in the strongest possible terms that these allegations are false. Nothing happened, ever.”

Spletsoser, who testified behind closed doors last week, sat in the front row during Hyten’s hearing on Tuesday.