Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the UN, has said that the women who have accused President Donald Trump of touching or groping them without their consent “should be heard”, the media reported.
Haley’s comments to CBS News on Sunday evening diverged from the White House position on the more than a dozen women who have accused Trump of misconduct, reports The Washington Post.
Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders has said that the White House’s position is that the women were lying and that the American people settled the issue by electing Trump despite the accusations.
When asked whether she considered the allegations a “settled issue”, given last year’s election results, Haley responded: “You know, that’s for the people to decide. I know that he was elected. But, you know, women should always feel comfortable coming forward. And we should all be willing to listen to them.”
Haley’s comments highlighted a challenge facing Republicans as a cultural revolution on the topic of sexual harassment sweeps the country.
Republicans have seized on allegations of wrongdoing by Democrats, including Representative John Conyers Jr. and Senator Al Franken who announced they would resign last week.
Haley spoke about Trump’s accusers after praising women who have come forward with allegations about powerful men in various other industries.
“They should be heard, and they should be dealt with.
“And I think we heard from them before the election. And I think any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way, they have every right to speak up.”
The President has been sued for defamation in New York by one of his accusers, Summer Zervos, a former contestant on “The Apprentice” who said Trump groped and kissed her in a hotel room in 2007 during a meeting to discuss a job opportunity, The Washington Post reported.
She said Trump defamed her when he dismissed her account and called her and the other accusers liars. A judge is weighing whether to allow the case to proceed.
Haley’s comments came in contrast to other Republicans, who have defended Trump, noting that the public elected him even after knowing about allegations from multiple women against him.
In an NBC News interview on Sunday night, Senator Tim Scott said that “to re-litigate the election is impossible.
“The allegations or the accusations against the president were a part of the campaign… Should people who were victimised have their day in court, their opportunity to present their information? I have no problem with that issue.”