Former President George H.W. Bush has been accused of groping by another woman.
Similarly to the first two accusers, Christina Baker Kline recalls being grabbed on the rear by the wheelchair-bound politician during a photo op back in April 2014.
In an essay for Slate, Kline says she was invited as a guest author for the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy fundraiser. After the luncheon, where she was seated next to the former First Lady, Kline and her husband lined up for a pic with George, Sr.
That’s when the unexpected happened: the now-93-year-old grabbed her ass, making the same “David Cop-a-feel” joke the other two women had remembered.
Kline wrote of the interaction:
“‘Hello,’ I said. ‘It’s truly an honor to meet yoicku.’
He cocked his head at me for a moment, then said, ‘You’re beautiful.’
‘Thank you,’ I said.
‘You’re a writer.’
‘You wanna know my favorite book?’ he whispered. I had to lean close to hear him.
‘Yes, what is it?’
By now the photographer was readying the shot. My husband stood on one side of the wheelchair, and I stood on the other. President Bush put his arm around me, low on my back. His comic timing was impeccable. ‘David Cop-a-feel,’ he said, and squeezed my butt, hard, just as the photographer snapped the photo. Instinctively, I swiped his hand away.”
After the picture, Christina and her husband were “whisked away” and told to “be discreet” by a member of the Bush staff about what happened.
As for why the writer didn’t come forward sooner, she explained:
“First, the only thing that made this incident unusual was that it involved an ex-president. Most women I know have experienced this kind of joking and groping dozens of times. You become inured to it. It happens, you try to forget about it, and later you exchange war stories with other women. Second, I didn’t want to face the scrutiny I knew an accusation like this would bring. Exactly one year earlier, at age 49, I’d finished a harrowing series of treatments for an invasive form of breast cancer. My hair had only just grown back. I was vulnerable enough; I didn’t want to face the consequences of making such an accusation. (Remember Trump’s comment that a woman wasn’t pretty enough to be sexually harassed by him?). I also didn’t want to seem opportunistic, as if I was reporting the former president’s transgression for publicity purposes. (Although, ugh, who wants this kind of publicity?) I didn’t want to collaterally damage the reputation of the literacy foundation, which does wonderful work. Most of all, I didn’t want to be perceived as being cruel to a harmless, aging former president with a reputation for courtly gentility.”
That’s a lot of pressure!
You can read the rest of her side of the story — and see the pic snapped at the exact moment of the grab — HERE.
P.S. When asked for comment on Kline’s allegation, Bush’s camp referred the outlet to the President’s former statement which reads:
“At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures. To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ and on occasion, he has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely.”
This is not acceptable behavior, and hopefully the courage of these women to share their stories will spark change.
[Image via FOX.]