Sanders rebuffs sexual harassment allegations against Trump

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks during the daily press briefing, on Thu., Nov. 16, 2017, in Washington.

AP

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders categorically denied the sexual harassment allegations against President Trump on Monday after a group of his accusers called on him to resign earlier in the day.

"Look, the president has addressed these accusations directly and denied all of these allegations," Sanders told reporters at Monday's White House briefing. "And this took place long before he was elected to be President. And the people of this country, at a decisive election, supported President Trump, and we feel like these allegations have been answered through that process." 

Responding to comments from U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who said on Sunday that Mr. Trump's accusers "should be heard and they should be dealt with," Sanders said that it was "a good thing that women are coming forward" but claimed that eyewitnesses have verified Mr. Trump's denials.

Sanders could not name any of the specific eyewitnesses or their accounts but said she would follow up with reporters after the briefing. 

In October, Sanders said that the official White House position on the 16 women who had accused Mr. Trump of sexual misconduct was that they were lying. Mr. Trump himself called their accounts "fake news" during a press conference. 

On Monday, Sanders maintained that all allegations against the president are false and added that she had "empathy" for anyone who has been sexually harassed.

"I absolutely would say that I have an empathy for any individual who has been sexually harassed. And that certainly would be the policy of the White House," Sanders said.

Mr. Trump's position on believing accusers of sexual misconduct has been inconsistent.

On Friday, Mr. Trump cast doubt on Roy Moore accuser Beverly Nelson during a rally in Pensacola, Florida. Ms. Nelson, who alleged that Alabama's Republican Senate candidate sexually assaulted her when she was a 16-year-old, acknowledged in a press conference on Friday that she had added the date and location below Mr. Moore's yearbook signature made in 1977. Her lawyer, Gloria Allred, was by her side. 

"So did you see what happened today?" Mr. Trump said at the rally. "You know the yearbook?  Did you see that? There was a little mistake made.  She started writing things in the yearbook. Oh, what are we going to do. Gloria Allred, any time you see her, you know something is going wrong."

Sources confirmed to CBS News that Mr. Trump has even disputed the veracity of the Access Hollywood video that depicts him saying that he grabs women "by the p****." Mr. Trump had previously acknowledged making those remarks during the campaign.

Yet the President did not hold back in attacking Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, earlier in November after television host Leann Tweeden alleged that Franken had sexually assaulted her during a military tour to entertain U.S. troops.  

"The Al Frankenstien picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words. Where do his hands go in pictures 2,3,4,5 & 6 while she sleeps?" Mr. Trump tweeted.

After news broke of allegations of serial sexual assault and rape against film executive Harvey Weinstein in October, Mr. Trump told reporters that he was "not at all surprised to see it."

Sanders previously said that the difference between Franken and Mr. Trump is that Franken admitted "wrongdoing."

However, in a 2005 radio interview, Mr. Trump told Howard Stern that he walked in on beauty pageant dressing rooms where teen contestants were naked because he could "sort of get away with things like that." When pressed about that statement on Monday, Sanders said she had nothing "further to add on the process."

Calls for Mr. Trump's resignation have intensified amid a wave of sexual misconduct allegations that have forced the resignation of high-powered men. Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand, D-New York, became the fourth democratic senator to call for Mr. Trump to resign on Monday, telling CNN that if he does not, Congress should open an investigation into the allegations. 

Summer Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice who accused Mr. Trump of sexual assault, is currently suing the president in New York State for using his public position for the purposes of defaming her and his accusers. The judge has not yet weighed in on whether the case will move forward to trial.

Zervos is also represented by lawyer Gloria Allred.