MSNBC's Ruhle and Velshi highlight Trump's history of defending men accused of abusing and harassing women
Ali Velshi: "The White House is saying the president has been clear that he thinks violence against women is disgusting but he does have a habit of defending men who are accused of hurting women."
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From the February 12 edition of MSNBC Live with Velshi and Ruhle:
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STEPHANIE RUHLE (CO-HOST): So while the White House press person said the president has always been very clear that there is no place, there is no tolerance whatsoever, that's simply not true. The president has not been clear. Do I need to remind you, he said vote for Roy Moore. He said Bill O'Reilly, he should sue those women, he's a good guy.
ALI VELSHI (CO-HOST): Let's talk about this. The White House is saying the president has been clear that he thinks violence against women is disgusting, but he does have a habit of defending men who are accused of hurting women. Let's go down the list, compiled by the New York Times.
He said this about Rob Porter, "it's obviously a tough time for him. He did a very good job. We hope he has a wonderful career." He then added, quote, "he says he's innocent and I think you have to remember that." Remember this part, Rob Porter has denied the allegations, but remember this part about what Donald Trump said because it's going to come in usefully in a minute.
After another staffer resigned over domestic abuse allegations, Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday morning, "people's lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true, some are false. Some are old, some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused. Life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as due process?" Trump defended, as Stephanie pointed out, former Alabama Republican Senate nominee, Roy Moore, who was accused of misconduct with teenage girls. Trump said, "Forty years is a long time. He's run eight races, and this has never come up. He totally denies it, and you know, you have to listen to him also." Sounds very similar to what he said about Rob Porter. All right, Trump defended Bill O'Reilly after the New York Times reported he settled sexual harassment claims with five women. Trump says, quote, "I don't think Bill did anything wrong. I think he's a person I know well. He is a good person."
RUHLE: May I interrupt for one moment? And the president would have no way of having first-hand knowledge of what Bill O'Reilly did with those women. So already, it was beyond a reach for the president to tell the New York Times he's a good person. You might -- the president might have very good relationships with Rob Porter, with Bill O'Reilly, but it doesn't mean he didn't do those things.
VELSHI: That's quite possible. Both things could be true. Both things can be true. You could know Bill O'Reilly well. Rob Porter could be a good guy. But you're right, he doesn't have firsthand knowledge of these things. Bill O'Reilly, by the way, continues to insist that he has done nothing wrong. Trump criticized the women accusing former Fox chairman Roger Ailes, saying, quote, "some of the women that are complaining, I know how much he's helped them." Again, to Stephanie's point, both things can be true. "And now all of a sudden they're saying these horrible things about him. It's very sad because he's a very good person."
RUHLE: And Ali, Roger Ailes as the head of the Fox network may have helped those women. He may have helped them build their careers but he also could have created a toxic work environment and an environment that fostered harassing behavior.
VELSHI: So the president likes to create a binary relationship with these things when, in fact, they can both be true. And by the way, after a reporter accused former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski of grabbing her and bruising her arm, Trump said of the reporter, "she was running up and grabbing and asking questions, she wasn't supposed to be doing that." He then said, "how do you know those bruises weren't there before?"
OK, let's not forget about what Trump has said about more than a dozen women who have accused him of misconduct. He says, "These people are horrible people." Again, remember how binary the president gets about it. You're either good people, or you're horrible people. "These people are horrible people. They're horrible, horrible liars." So to that point, the president isn't really in a position to change his view, because if he changes his view about the others, he may have to answer things himself.