Earlier this month Charles Herbster, a Nebraska candidate for governor approved by Donald Trump, was accused of groping eight women. Six told the Nebraska Examiner that he “touched them inappropriately when they said hello or goodbye to him, or when they posed for a photograph by his side,” and a seventh claimed he held her in the corner in solitude and forcibly kissed her. And in a turnaround of events that literally shouldn’t shock anyone, the former president has not only stood by the guy, but doubled his support for him.
Politico reports that after being informed of the allegations, Trump insisted that Herbster had to fight back harder and “back”[ed] plans for [the candidate] to hold a press conference that aggressively denies the allegations and pushes his opponents back. “Herbster’s campaign manager claimed the allegations were the work of a” political establishment “that” smears and tries to destroy “him with lies and was allegedly coordinated in part by the current Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts, who Herbster’s campaign has proposed wants to take him down. (In response, Ricketts told Politico it was “ridiculous to think anyone could coordinate eight different people to talk to a reporter about this.”) Herbster also reportedly retained the services of a law firm Trump has used to defend himself, and has brought suit against the state senator Julie Slama, who alleged that Herbster stuck his hand up her skirt without her consent, for defamation. (Slama countered Monday.) All in all, Trump apparently satisfied who is scheduled to perform with, and according to Politico, “voice support for,” Herbster at a meeting tonight.
Herbster sang Trump’s praise in an interview with Politico, calling him “a man of his word” for not dropping Nebraskan, even in light of the many allegations of sexual assault. “It’s easy to be someone’s friend and be around someone when something is perfect,” Herbster said. “But when something is imperfect, a lot of people flee and he’s not that type of person.”
Of course, literally none of these claims are true. Trump is not a man of his word and is famously known for embracing and then publicly dumping and slandering people. What the former president is known for prioritizing slavish loyalty and devotion over everything else that Herbster has provided since 2015. Trump is also known for defending men accused of abusing women. When his helper Robert Porter withdrew from the White House after being accused of abusing two of his ex-wives, Porter claims, Trump noted that he “did a very good job when he was in the White House” and allegedly wanted to re-employ him. When formerly Fox News hosted Bill O’Reilly was accused of sexual harassment, Trump called him a “good person,” said he did not believe O’Reilly “did anything wrong,” and insisted he should not have taken a stand against his prosecutors. (O’Reilly has also denied the claims against him.) And of course after Brett Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault, Trump went to fight for him, calling the then Supreme Court candidate “one of the finest people you will ever have the privilege of knowing or meeting.” Kavanaugh has also denied the allegations against him. And of course, Trump himself has denied accusations from more than two dozen women who have accused him of sexual misconduct, up to and including rape.
“To be treated that way in a public event, in front of everyone, just to prove, I think he could get away with it, and without having the means to appeal, it’s scary,” said one of Herbster’s prosecutors to the Nebraska Enquirer for its history published this month. “I’m afraid of all the young women he would have to deal with in the future. Do not send your daughters to work for this guy.” The store said it “confirmed six of the women’s stories with at least one witness to each incident,” adding that “the other two women told at least one person about the incident the same day it took place,” as all confirmed the reports. Following the report on the allegations, Ricketts said in a statement: “This is more than horrific,” adding: “Charles W. Herbster should ask for forgiveness of the women he has abused and seek treatment. Sexual assault is criminal behavior and should disqualify anyone from elected management. ”
If you would like to receive the Levin report in your inbox daily, click here here to subscribe.
More good stories from Vanity Fair
– Inside Virus-Hunting Nonprofit at the heart of the Lab-Leak controversy
– Jared Kushner and Donald Trump probably will not share a Milkshake soon
– CNN leaves the drama with a focus on war in Ukraine
– Trump’s Truth Social is an even greater humiliation than previous business failures
– The clock is ticking at the Survey on 6 January
– Washington Post Checking in, finds out that Trump is still a lying sociopath
– A Ukrainian woman explains the war to Europe’s skeptics
– From the archive: How Playboy Imran Khan became the Prime Minister of Pakistan
– Not a subscriber? Connect Vanity Fair to receive full access to VF.com and the complete online archive now.