WASHINGTON – Three women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault gathered in the nation’s capital Wednesday to demand the resignation of two current members of Congress facing assault allegations of their own.
The Media Equality Project held the press conference at the National Press Club to demand that Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., resign from office.
The group also called on Congress to end taxpayer-funded payouts to harassment victims.
“I am here to demand the resignation of Al Franken and John Conyers,” said Kathleen Willey, the former White House aide who in 1998 accused Bill Clinton of sexually assaulting her in November 1993.
“They are not sorry; their apologies are weak. The only reason they apologized is because they got caught. They have no intention of changing. It’s in their DNA, and it’s not going to change,” she said.
At the podium, Willey briefly recounted how the first-year president had backed her into a corner and groped her. She called on Congress to pass a resolution stripping Bill and Hillary Clinton of their pensions.
“Bill Clinton is a rapist and Hillary Clinton is his enabler,” Willey declared as she recalled the various ways the former first lady tried to intimidate her.
Seated next to Willey was Juanita Broaddrick, who in 1999 accused Bill Clinton of raping her in 1978 when he was Arkansas’ attorney general.
“I was 35 years old when Bill Clinton, the Arkansas attorney general, raped me and Hillary Clinton tried to silence me. I’m now 74, and it never goes away. For the last two decades, I was harassed and ridiculed by the media.”
Broaddrick noted society once excused sexual harassment by reciting the cliché “boys will be boys,” but she pointed out things are changing now that so many victims have come forward in such a short span of time.
Accusations have been leveled against Hollywood power brokers such as Harvey Weinstein, members of the news media and even former President George H.W. Bush.
“We are entering a whole new era in regards to allegations of unwanted sexual contact,” Broaddrick declared. “Our society is evolving. Those days of ‘boys will be boys, just deal with it’ are gone.”
Also taking the podium was Leslie Millwee, who in October 2016 accused Bill Clinton of sexually assaulting her three times in 1980 when he was Arkansas governor. Millwee explained to the gathered press that she shared her story when she did because she couldn’t bear the thought of the Clintons returning to the White House.
She told of being a naïve 19-year-old TV reporter in Arkansas in 1980 when the governor took an interest in her. She claimed that on multiple occasions Clinton pressed his genitals to her neck, ran his hands over her breasts and fondled her “to the point of orgasm.”
However, she was too afraid to say anything at the time.
“I’m 20 years old, I’m in a strange city and I’m just starting my career,” she recalled. “Is that really what I wanted to do?”
Millwee eventually quit her job as a TV reporter so she would no longer have to be close to Clinton. Today, she says she considers herself a survivor, not a victim, and she wants other women in similar positions to be braver than she was at the time.
“I want other women who have been through anything like this, whether it was with Bill Clinton or anyone, I want you to come forward, stand up. Don’t be embarrassed; don’t be ashamed. Tell the world about this so we can make these men, and some women, accountable for their abuse of other people.”
Melanie Morgan, co-founder of the Media Equality Project’s parent organization Media Equality, introduced the speakers at the press conference. She herself recently accused Franken of harassing and stalking her after the two got into an argument during an appearance on ABC’s “Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher” in 2000. She offered a direct challenge to the House minority leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
“Today I want to challenge former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and all other feminist leaders to look these women in the eyes – Juanita, Kathleen, Leslie, who have joined us today – we challenge Nancy Pelosi to tell them that they don’t believe their stories after all these years,” Morgan said.
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Sex in America, Part 2 by Ann Coulter
The Media Equality Project invited Paula Jones, who memorably sued Bill Clinton for sexual harassment in 1994, to the press conference, but it was announced Jones was unable to make it. The group also invited several female members of Congress, including Pelosi; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif.; Rep. Barbara Comstock, D-Va.; and Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., but none of them showed up.
Franken offered an apology of sorts on Monday, nearly two weeks after four women accused him of inappropriately groping them between 2006 and 2010.
“I know there are no magic words that I can say to regain your trust,” the Minnesota Democrat said during a news conference outside his Senate office. “This has been a shock and it’s been extremely humbling. I am embarrassed. I feel ashamed.”
However, Franken said he did not intend to resign.
One of the incidents prompting complaints against Franken was captured in a photograph.
Conyers, meanwhile, has been accused of sexually harassing multiple former staffers. The long-serving congressman stepped down Sunday from his position as the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, but he has denied any wrongdoing and does not plan to resign from office.