Donald Trump Responds to the Fox News Sexual Assault Scandal

July 24th 2016

Aron Macarow

Donald Trump defended ousted Fox News chief Roger Ailes on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday morning, giving an answer that some might describe as predictable — particularly given the Republican presidential nominee's prior statements about women.

Host Chuck Todd asked Trump about Ailes, who left Fox News under a cloud of sexual harassment allegations, and the candidate described Ailes as "a friend of mine for a long time."

"It's very sad," Trump said of the allegations. "Because he's a very good person. I've always found him to be just a very, very good person."

Ailes was compelled to resign as Fox News CEO on Thursday following a sexual harassment suit brought by "Fox & Friends" co-host Gretchen Carlson. Since the charges became public, dozens of women have spoken out against the former CEO, including Fox News host Megyn Kelly and a former model who alleged in an interview with New York magazine that she was 16 years old when Ailes harassed her.

Ailes' outside counsel, Barry Asen, denied all of the allegations in a statement to New York magazine:

"It has become obvious that Ms. Carlson and her lawyer are desperately attempting to litigate this in the press because they have no legal case to argue. The latest allegations, all 30 to 50 years old, are false."

For his part, Trump made light of the Ailes charges in his appearance on "Meet the Press," seeming to suggest that some of the allegations against Ailes were dishonest — and hinting that the former Fox News chief might end up running his campaign.

"I can tell you that some of the women that are complaining, I know how much he’s helped them," the Manhattan real estate mogul told Todd. "And even recently. And when they write books that are fairly recently released, and they say wonderful things about him. And now all of a sudden, they’re saying these horrible things about him."

"But a lot of people are thinking he’s going to run my campaign," Trump added.

Trump has a long history of questionable comments about and toward women. Trump called actress Rosie O'Donnell a "slob" with a "fat, ugly face" and referred to Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington as "a dog."

Trump has also engaged in some eyebrow-raising behavior in the past, as when he reportedly kissed multiple Miss America pageant contestants on the lips.

Trump has previously defended his statements about and behavior toward women, telling The New York Times (paywall) that he has "always treated women with great respect."

Watch Chuck Todd's full interview with Trump on "Meet the Press" below:


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