President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he was “never a fan” of disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein and that he hadn’t been able to closely follow Weinstein’s sexual assault trial, which ended with Weinstein being found guilty this week.
But, speaking with reporters on the second day of his trip to India, Trump took some characteristic pleasure in the downfall of someone he saw as an opponent — and he swiped at the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama for their association with Weinstein.
“So I was never a fan of Harvey Weinstein, as you know,” Trump said. “In fact, he said he was going to work hard to defeat me in the election. How did that work out?”
“I don’t know too much about the case because you know I’ve been traveling and being at meetings almost every hour of the day, every minute of the day, I haven’t been able to really see too much of it,” Trump added.
“But I was just not a fan of his. I knew him a little bit, not very well, I knew him because he was in New York,” the president said. “I will say the people that liked him were the Democrats. Michelle Obama loved him. Loved him. Hillary Clinton loved him.”
While both Clinton and Obama denounced Weinstein in 2017 — days after the initial reporting about the sexual assault allegations against him that ultimately led to his trial — Trump was seemingly referring to Weinstein’s years of fundraising for Democrats, such as Clinton and Obama.
Obama’s daughter Malia also interned at his movie company before the allegations.
In 2013, the White House also hosted an event about the entertainment industry that was organized by Weinstein. There, Obama called him “a wonderful human being, a good friend and just a powerhouse.”
She and her husband, former President Barack Obama, took a different tone in speaking out after the Weinstein allegations broke open in October 2017.
“Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein,” President Obama said in a statement then, continuing:
“Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status. We should celebrate the courage of women who have come forward to tell these painful stories. And we all need to build a culture — including by empowering our girls and teaching our boys decency and respect — so we can make such behavior less prevalent in the future.”
In her own statement, Clinton said: “I was shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein. Their courage and support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behavior. The behavior described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated.
Republicans repeatedly criticized Democrats for ties to Weinstein and for taking his money (which Trump echoed this week).
In turn, Trump critics called Republicans hypocritical given the president’s own long list of accusers, including a famous advice columnist who said he violently raped her.
He has denied all of these stories and is currently being sued for defamation by two accusers.
Trump told reporters in India on Tuesday that Weinstein’s conviction on third-degree rape and first-degree criminal sexual act “was a great victory and sends a very strong message.”
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