In a surprising break from the White House and most of the Republican Party, United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said on “Face the Nation” Sunday morning that the “the time has come” to listen to the women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual assault and harassment.
“I am incredibly proud of the women who have come forward. I’m proud of their strength. I’m proud of their courage,” Haley said. “And I think that the idea that this is happening, I think it will start to bring a conscience to the situation — not just in politics, but in, you know, we’ve seen in Hollywood and in every industry.”
“And I think the time has come,” she continued.
And when asked by host John Dickerson how the allegations against Trump should be dealt with, Haley said the president should be held to the same standard, and his accusers should be heard.
“Well, you know, the same thing — women who accuse anyone should be heard,” she declared.
And she added that, even though Trump was elected after at least 16 women accused him of sexual misconduct, “women should always feel comfortable coming forward and we should all be willing to listen to them.”
DICKERSON: There is a cultural shift going on in America right now — you saw three members of Congress kicked out of Congress because of sexual behavior, misdeeds. You were the first woman senator of South Carolina. What do you think of this cultural moment that’s happening?
HALEY: You know, I am incredibly proud of the women who have come forward. I’m proud of their strength. I’m proud of their courage. And I think that the idea that this is happening, I think it will start to bring a conscience to the situation — not just in politics, but in, you know, we’ve seen in Hollywood and in every industry. And I think the time has come.
DICKERSON: Of course, I’m wrong, you were the governor, first governor of South Carolina. Given that consciousness, how do you think people should assess the accusers of the president?
HALEY: Well, you know, the same thing — women who accuse anyone should be heard. They should be heard, and they should be dealt with. I think we heard from them prior to the election and I think any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way, they have every right to speak up.
DICKERSON: And does the election mean that’s a settled issue?
HALEY: You know, that’s for the people to decide. I know that he was elected, but women should always feel comfortable coming forward and we should all be willing to listen to them.
Haley’s comments come amid a wave of sexual misconduct scandals involving high-profile men in politics, media, entertainment, and other industries.
While Democrats have responded to allegations against their colleagues by calling for their resignations, Republicans have largely taken a neutral stance and refused to give more than lip service to the issue.
Last week, Democratic Rep. John Conyers of Michigan and Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota resigned following accusations of sexual misconduct. At the same time, Republicans are embracing Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who stands accused of sexual abuse and child molestation by numerous women. This weekend, Trump hit the campaign trail to encourage Alabama voters to overlook the accusations of serial sexual predation in order to win the Senate seat.
As for Trump himself, the White House continues to deny the many allegations against Trump, the latest of which emerged this week. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in October that the administration’s official positions is that the women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct are all lying — despite the fact that Trump was heard on tape bragging about forcing himself on women.
While he may have evaded responsibility thus far, there’s a storm brewing that even the president can’t outrun. And it’s leading some on his own team to start calling for real accountability.