Former President George HW Bush accused of groping Heather Lind from his wheelchair
Powerful men have a problem. They just like grabbing women. I don't understand why, but everyone from Hollywood executives to ex-Presidents will simply reach out and grope a woman if they can. This is something they just do, for decades, without repercussions. Bill Clinton, we all know, has landed in hot water on the basis of sexual harassment. Now, it seems that 93-year-old George H.W. Bush, who preceded Clinton in office, is guilty of a similar attitude toward women.
Heather Lind, an actress who stars in AMC's Turn: Washington's Spies, accused the former President of sexual assault in a now-deleted Instagram post. She explains what allegedly took place:
“He didn’t shake my hand. He touched me from behind from his wheelchair with his wife Barbara Bush by his side. He told me a dirty joke. And then, all the while being photographed, touched me again. Barbara rolled her eyes as if to say ‘not again.’ His security guard told me I shouldn’t have stood next to him for the photo.”
The portrait here is unsettling: a dirty old lecher in a wheelchair making sexual jokes and groping a young actress, while his aiding-and-abetting wife pretty much accepts it as "Yep, that's George". Lind also said:
“I found it disturbing because I recognize the respect ex-presidents are given for having served. And I feel pride and reverence toward many of the men in the photo [of all living ex-Presidents]. But when I got the chance to meet George H. W. Bush four years ago to promote a historical television show I was working on, he sexually assaulted me while I was posing for a similar photo."
I can't imagine why anyone would lie about being groped by a former ex-President, especially George H.W. Bush, who is wheelchair-bound and 93 years old. The proof of the allegation seems to come from the Bush family's response, when they had a spokesman apologize for the groping:
“President Bush would never — under any circumstance — intentionally cause anyone distress, and he most sincerely apologizes if his attempt at humor offended Ms. Lind."
It is very strange and telling of the mindset of powerful Washington players that a grope is considered an "attempt at humor". We've all heard bad defenses for sexual assault, but that takes the cake. How many levels of bullshit do you have to be on to respond to a groping by basically saying: "Sorry if his joke offended you?"
It's not about a joke or taking offense, it's about a groping. The Bush family PR team is pretty damn nuts, if you ask me.
Here's a photograph of all the living ex-Presidents. Two of these men, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, have sexually assaulted or harassed women. When Donald Trump joins the ranks of these ex-Presidents, he will likely make a third. So that's half of all the men who would be on this stage who are known gropers or harassers.
The American Presidential legacy grows more and more fraught by day. The old myth of the dignity of the office, the moral integrity of the President, flakes and scratches away with each news cycle. Our Presidents are not paragons of moral virtue, but simply men who were marketed to win elections. The rest, well, is in their actions.