First lady Melania Trump says she supports the Me Too movement but that accusers need “hard evidence” to back their claims, arguing “we need to support” accused men as well.
“I support the women, and they need to be heard,” Trump said in an ABC News interview taped last week during her trip to Africa. “We need to support them, and you know, also men, not just women.”
When asked if accused men have received unfair treatment, the first lady said there should be proof to support the accusations. She also echoed her husband’s criticism of the media.
“I do stand with women, but we need to show the evidence,” Trump said. “You cannot just say to somebody, ‘I was sexually assaulted,’ or, ‘You did that to me,’ because sometimes the media goes too far. The way they portray some stories, it’s not correct. It’s not right.”
Reporters typically follow extensive protocols to corroborate misconduct claims before publishing them. Many survivors do not report sexual assault for a variety of reasons, including fear of retaliation, embarrassment or a lack of security. Sometimes, evidence is not readily available.
Trump stood by her husband when he was accused of sexual misconduct during his presidential campaign and dismissed the “Access Hollywood” tape of him bragging about sexual assault as “boy talk.”
In a 2016 interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, she claimed her husband’s accusers were “organized from the opposition” and suggested that people “check the background of these women.”
President Donald Trump has repeatedly insinuated that many women saying they were sexually assaulted, including those making such allegations against him, are lying.
During his campaign, he mocked his accusers by suggesting they were not attractive enough to be sexually assaulted.
“Look at her, I don’t think so,” he said of People magazine reporter Natasha Stoynoff, who said Trump attacked her in 2005. “Believe me, she would not be my first choice, that I can tell you,” he said of another woman, without naming her.
At a campaign rally last week, the president undermined Christine Blasey Ford by mocking her testimony that now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school.
On Friday, the president also claimed without evidence that sexual assault survivors who demonstrated against Kavanaugh’s nomination on Capitol Hill were paid protesters.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.