President Donald Trump responded to the Harvey Weinstein verdict, saying Tuesday that he “never liked” the once-powerful Hollywood mogul now convicted of rape and that Weinstein sought to work against Trump’s candidacy in 2016.
Weinstein, 67, was found guilty in New York on Monday on one count of third-degree rape and one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree, but was acquitted on two counts of predatory sexual assault and one count of first-degree rape. He faces a sentence of five to 25 years on the most serious charge. Weinstein’s lawyer said he would appeal the verdict.
During a press conference in India, Trump was asked if he thought justice was served in the case, one of the most prominent sparked by the #MeToo movement.
“So I was never a fan of Harvey Weinstein, as you know. In fact, he said he was gonna 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, never liked. I don’t know too much about the case because, you know, between traveling and being at meetings almost every hour of the day, every minute of the day, I haven’t really been able to see too much of it.”
“But I was just not a fan of his,” Trump continued. “I knew him a little bit, not very well. I knew him because he was in New York. Not a person that I liked. I will say, the people that liked him were the Democrats. Michelle Obama loved him. Loved him. Hillary Clinton loved him. And he gave tremendous money to the Democrats, and I guess my question is will the Democrats be asking for that money back? Because he gave a lot of money to the Democrats, and you know, it’s too bad, but that’s the way it worked out.”
When the allegations against Weinstein arose in 2017, many Democrats donated the equivalent in campaign contributions they received from Weinstein to charity, including to groups that advocate for domestic violence victims.
Asked by NBC News’ Peter Alexander if he had any message to women “who are still afraid to come forward and share their stories of sexual harassment and assault,” Trump said he thought that “from the standpoint of women, it was a great thing, it was a great victory, and it sends a very strong message, a very, very strong message.”
Trump has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women — accusations he has strongly denied.