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 GillibrandTeen girls pen open letter supporting Kavanaugh accuser: We imagine you at that party and 'see ourselves' Poll: Most Massachusetts voters don't think Warren should run for president in 2020 The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — GOP again has momentum on Kavanaugh rollercoaster MORE (D-N.Y.) and Reps. Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierHouse Dems push to delay Kavanaugh vote for investigation Dems 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 MORE (D-Calif.) and Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosBlue wave poses governing risks for Dems Dems' confidence swells with midterms fast approaching The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — Inside the final legislative push before the midterms 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.

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Compare how leadership handled recent reports of congressional misconduct. Fifty-two year veteran Rep. John ConyersJohn James ConyersCongressional Ethics committees are the wrong place to settle harassment and discrimination claims Conservative activist disrupts campaign event for Muslim candidates Michigan Dems elect state's first all-female statewide ticket for midterms 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 PelosiSinema, Fitzpatrick call for long-term extension of Violence Against Women Act Internal RNC poll shows Pelosi is more popular than Trump: report Indicted lawmaker angers GOP with decision to run for reelection MORE (Calif.), Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerDems' confidence swells with midterms fast approaching Trump's Puerto Rico tweets spark backlash Hoyer lays out government reform blueprint 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 BernalNevada rematch pits rural voters against a booming Las Vegas Battle of the billionaires drives Nevada contest Danny Tarkanian wins Nevada GOP congressional primary MORE (D-Nev.).

On the other side of the aisle, Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHow does the 25th Amendment work? Sinema, Fitzpatrick call for long-term extension of Violence Against Women Act GOP super PAC drops .5 million on Nevada ad campaign MORE (R-Wis.), who was quick to demand that Conyers resign, has still not called on Rep. Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdFormer aides alleging sexual harassment on Capitol Hill urge congressional action AP Analysis: 25 state lawmakers running in 2018 have been accused of sexual misconduct Ex-lawmakers see tough job market with trade groups 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 FranksFreedom Caucus members see openings in leadership AP Analysis: 25 state lawmakers running in 2018 have been accused of sexual misconduct Jordan weathering political storm, but headwinds remain 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 SchumerTrump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump slams Sessions in exclusive Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh accuser wants FBI investigation MORE (N.Y.) and Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinGrassley to administration: You must consult Congress on refugee cap Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens Bipartisan group wants to lift Medicaid restriction on substance abuse treatment MORE (Ill.), called on their colleague Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenElection Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls #MeToo era shows there's almost never only one accuser, says Hill.TV's Krystal Ball Hypocrisy in Kavanaugh case enough to set off alarms in DC MORE (D-Minn.) to resign his seat. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP, Kavanaugh accuser struggle to reach deal GOP making counteroffer to Kavanaugh accuser The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump questions Kavanaugh accuser's account | Accuser may testify Thursday | Midterm blame game begins 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 Trump. 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) HaleyTrump Jr. to Dem Senator: 'You admitted to hitting your wife so hard it gave her a black eye!' Haley wasn’t invited to key White House meeting on refugee policy: report Nikki Haley: New York Times ‘knew the facts’ about curtains and still released story 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.”