Three women who have accused U.S. President Donald Trump of sexual harassment are calling on Congress to investigate the allegations against him.
The women held a press conference Monday to demand that the president be held accountable for his actions.
“If they were willing to investigate Sen. [Al] Franken [D-Minn.], it’s only fair that they do the same for Trump,” said Rachel Crooks, one of the president’s accusers.
Crooks has accused the president of forcibly kissing her 12 years ago at Trump Tower, where she was a young receptionist.
Samantha Holvey, a former Miss USA contestant who says Trump walked into the dressing room to inspect the women, said the president should step down over the allegations.
“Other folks have resigned. I think he should. I don’t think he ever will,” she said at the news conference arranged by Brave New Films, a progressive nonprofit group.
The three women appeared earlier Monday morning on NBC News’ “Megyn Kelly Today.”
The women are trying to return the spotlight to Trump’s alleged misconduct at a time when other politicians, media figures, entertainment executives and businessmen have been forced to leave their jobs over accusations of sexual harassment or assault.
The group, which also included Jessica Leeds, who said Trump groped and kissed her on an airplane, did not make any new allegations against the president.
But they expressed hope the shifting cultural ground surrounding sexual misconduct would force a reckoning for the president.
“So we’re at the position now where in some areas of our society, people are being held accountable for unwanted behavior,” said Leeds. “But we are not holding our president accountable for what he is and who he is.”
At least 16 women during the 2016 campaign accused Trump of sexually harassing them. Trump has denied all of the allegations and the White House has said its official position is that all the women were lying.
“These false claims, totally disputed in most cases by eyewitness accounts, were addressed at length during last year’s campaign, and the American people voiced their judgment by delivering a decisive victory,” a White House spokesperson said Monday.
The White House said the women were motivated by politics in trying to revive their accusations against Trump.
“The timing and absurdity of these false claims speaks volumes and the publicity tour that has begun only further confirms the political motives behind them,” said the spokesperson, who declined to be named.
Holvey pushed back on that criticism, saying the women want the investigation to be carried out in a non-partisan way.
“It’s not a partisan issue, it’s how women are treated every day,” she said.
Trump’s alleged sexual harassment was thrust back into the spotlight even before Monday, as lawmakers on Capitol Hill were forced to resign in a tidal wave of backlash against sexism in the workplace.
While announcing his resignation last Friday, Franken noted the “irony” of being forced to step aside when “a man who has bragged on tape of his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office.”
Franken was referring to the “Access Hollywood” tape, in which Trump is heard boasting about how he can grab women and force himself on them because of his power and wealth.
Trump has apologized for the remarks and described them as “locker room talk.” But he has privately expressed doubt about the authenticity of the tape, according to media reports.
The women on Monday also talked about their disgust with Trump over his support for Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl and dating teenagers while he was in his 30s and serving as district attorney during the 1980s.
Moore denies the allegations.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has cut ties with him and some GOP senators say he should be expelled if he wins, but Trump is backing him, saying that he doesn’t want the seat to be held by a Democrat.
“It’s really horrifying and it’s confusing because you would think that the good people of Alabama could see through this but we’ve gotten so polarized with the politics they want to keep a republican seat even though it’s a pedophile,” Leeds said.