Reacting to Harvey Weinstein’s conviction on criminal sexual assault and third-degree rape charges, President Donald Trump hailed a New York jury’s decision as a “great victory” for women and sought to tie the disgraced movie mogul to prominent Democrats.
“I think from the standpoint of women it was a great thing, it was a great victory and sends a very strong message,” Trump said during a wide-ranging news conference Tuesday in New Delhi, India, when asked what the result means for women who may be afraid to come forward with their own experiences with sexual assault or harassment.
The president attempted to tie the 67-year-old Weinstein to Democrats while simultaneously distancing himself from the now jailed sex offender, saying he was “never a fan” of Weinstein and claiming prominent Democrats — specifically Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton — “loved him.”
“The people who liked him were the Democrats,” Trump said. “He gave tremendous money to the Democrats.”
The question now, Trump said, is whether the Democrats give the money back?
“So I was never a fan of Harvey Weinstein as you know. In fact, he said he was going to work hard to defeat me in the election,” Trump said. “How did that work out, by the way? I’m trying to figure that out. He was a person I didn’t like.”
Trump said he has been too busy traveling and taking meetings to follow the trial closely.
Weinstein was found guilty of criminal sexual assault and of rape in the third degree in a New York court. He was found not guilty of the more serious charges of predatory sexual assault and of rape in the first degree.
The judge in the case remanded Weinstein into custody without bail against his attorneys’ request.
His lawyers said they will appeal the conviction, claiming there were “extremely troubling” issues with the trial.
The outcome of the riveting trial is seen as a landmark moment in the #MeToo movement, which was spurred into mainstream awareness after allegations against Weinstein were first reported in October 2017 by The New York Times and The New Yorker.