WASHINGTON — First lady Melania Trump said victims who make accusations of sexual misconduct “need to have really hard evidence” in a recently taped interview, echoing a statement she made in October 2016 amid allegations against her husband.
“If you accuse (someone) of something, show the evidence,” Trump said in a sit-down interview with ABC News that took place in Kenya last week during her first major solo trip to Africa.
Trump also said she supports women, but she echoed her husband, President Donald Trump, adding that men need to be supported, too.
“I support the women and they need to be heard,” said Trump. “We need to support them and, you know, also men, not just women.”
She added that women who come forward as victims should be prepared to back up their claims.
“I do stand with women, but we need to show the evidence. You cannot just say to somebody, ‘I was sexually assaulted,’ or, ‘You did that to me,’ because sometimes the media goes too far, and the way they portray some stories it’s, it’s not correct, it’s not right,” said Trump.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, at least 13 women accused Donald Trump of misbehavior ranging from sexual harassment to sexual assault. They came forward in the wake of a 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape that was released in October 2016 in which he is caught saying on a hot mic: “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. … Grab them by the p***y. You can do anything.”
The White House — through press secretary Sarah Sanders and others — has dismissed all the allegations against him as old news that was litigated during the campaign.
Melania Trump told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in October 2016: “Every assault should be taken care of in a court of law. And to accuse, no matter who it is, a man or a woman, without evidence is damaging and unfair.”
“This was all organized from the opposition. And with the details … did they ever check the background of these women? They don’t have any facts,” she had said.
The President has also voiced suspicion about the year-old #MeToo movement, complaining that allegations made decades later can ruin a man’s life. He has questioned why women wait so long to come forward if they are telling the truth. He also has expressed concern for men in this #MeToo moment.
During an impromptu briefing with press traveling with her in Egypt last week, Trump would not say if she believed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey-Ford.
“I will move on that and I think that all the victims they need — we need to help all the victims no matter what kind of abuse they had, but I am against any kind of abuse or violence,” she said.