Perhaps the slow drip of information and accusations against Trump has had a numbing effect on public opinion, and the sexual misconduct has been further buried by the national security crises that seem to be occurring on a weekly basis. The New York Times didn’t even consider it front-page news last month when prominent writer E. Jean Carroll became the third person to accuse the sitting president of rape. (Trump responded that he couldn’t have raped her because she’s not his “type.”) But when the puzzle pieces are assembled, the full picture of Trump’s alleged sexual misconduct and the fact that he’s gotten away with it for so long are actually quite shocking at a time when the country is supposed to be reckoning with its own rape culture.
It’s not just the idea of a possible rapist sitting in the Oval Office that’s disturbing—it’s the ripple effect of a presidency that silences and devalues women and girls while elevating the men who harm them. Trump paid two porn stars for their silence after having affairs with them. His administration has come under international scrutiny for weakening protections for victims of sex trafficking. He endorsed Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore in 2017, after multiple allegations that Moore had sexually abused teen girls. He stood by his Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanaugh, after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford delivered an emotional testimony alleging that Kavanaugh tried to rape her in high school. He is reportedly not even considering firing Acosta for making a sweetheart deal with Epstein’s lawyers.