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Shaheen, Hassan slam Trump but don’t call for him to step down

  • President Donald Trump points out an embattled Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore supporter as he speaks at a campaign-style rally at the Pensacola Bay Center, in Pensacola, Fla., Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) AP



For the Monitor
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Sen. Maggie Hassan said President Donald Trump is “unfit to serve.”

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen cited serious “concerns” with the president.

But neither of New Hampshire’s two Democratic U.S. senators on Monday would go as far as five of their Senate colleagues, who have called on Trump to consider resigning over multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.

Shaheen and Hassan spoke with the Monitor the same day that Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York bluntly said that Trump should resign. Gillibrand added that if the President doesn’t step down, Congress should investigate. That call was echoed later in the day by Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon.

On Monday, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, said that Trump should follow the lead of Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota and resign. Franken, a two-term Democrat from Minnesota, announced last week he would step down following a spate of recent sexual misconduct allegations.

Last week, Democratic Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Jeff Merkley of Oregon also urged the president to consider stepping down from office.

Hassan called for Franken to resign last week and said he set the correct example by stepping down.

“I have long said that the president is unfit to serve, and I appreciate very much what some of my colleagues have said on calling on him to resign,” Hassan said. “I think what we know is that the president does not heed such calls but I’ll continue to make the case that he is unfit to serve and hope that others will continue to push him as well.”

Asked if she would join her colleagues in calling for Trump to resign, Hassan repeated that she has long said that Trump “is unfit to serve.”

Last week’s resignation announcements by Franken and U.S. Reps. John Conyers, D-Michigan, and Trent Franks, R- Ariz., over sexual misconduct allegations have refocused attention on claims made during the 2016 presidential campaign by multiple women who accused Trump of past sexual misconduct, harassment and assault. Trump repeatedly denied the accusations.

And weeks before last year’s presidential election, a leaked Access Hollywood recording from a decade earlier showed Trump bragging about groping women without their consent, which nearly derailed his campaign.

Three women who have publicly accused Trump of sexual misconduct held a news conference Monday, where they detailed their claims of being fondled, groped and kissed forcibly by then-real estate mogul and reality TV star Trump.

Shaheen pointed out that Trump has made it clear he wasn’t going to resign.

“I think the voters have elected him and that’s one of the challenges,” she said.

Shaheen noted that there are other issues besides the sexual misconduct allegations against the president that trouble her.

“I think there are other concerns about this president with respect to violations of the emoluments clause in the Constitution where he and his family are getting benefited financially from his time in office,” Shaheen said. “You know, the estimates that I’ve seen about this tax proposal are that the Trump family would benefit up to a billion dollars from this tax proposal.”

It’s not just Democrats who are concerned.

Former New Hampshire Republican Party chairwoman Jennifer Horn told the Monitor she’s “said from the beginning of all of this that every women who makes an accusation deserves to be heard.”

But Horn, whose differences of opinion with then candidate-Trump and his supporters in the Granite State were well documented, added that “this is something that should be dealt with outside of partisan politics.”

And she said calls for the president to consider resigning are “clearly an attempt by the Democrats to play politics, which is particularly disappointing with such a serious situation as sexual assault and sexual harassment.”

A top Trump supporter in New Hampshire argued that “Democrats have not accepted the fact that Trump won.”

“They’re just looking for any partisan way to go after Trump to try to change the will of the people,” said former state representative Steve Stepanek, a New Hampshire co-chairman of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

“All of these allegations came out prior to the election. They were well-vetted,” Stepanek said. “They were out there for the public to look at and evaluate, and ultimately they decided that they were going to elect him.”

Controversy over powerful men sexually harassing women has dominated national headlines the past couple of months, and not just in politics. Two top media figures, Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose, were fired from their network morning news anchor positions, and actors including Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K. and Dustin Hoffman have lost work and faced public rebuke as a result of the wave of allegations.