One of the most nauseating stories in recent years that doesn’t involve Donald Trump was the fact that Roy Moore was able to stay in the race for Jeff Sessions’ Senate seat after being accused of molesting teenage girls and seeking relationships with girls young enough to be his daughters. How was he able to pull it off? He claimed that it was all a witch hunt. For all intents and purposes, Moore’s defense was that when The Washington Post detonated this bombshell, it was part of a politically motivated attempt to keep him out of the Senate.
Incredibly, he almost got away with it. He only lost to Doug Jones by 22,000 votes. Well, it looks like it’s starting again–and again, The Post is at the center of it. After The Post revealed that one of CNN’s more prominent pro-Trump commentators had been fired from a previous job for sexual harassment, CNN suspended him. Now that commentator is claiming he’s the victim of a witch hunt–and much of the right agrees.
Paris Dennard is one of the louder members of a very exclusive club–black conservatives who support Trump. He first gained notice when he spoke at the 2000 Republican National Convention at the tender age of 18. After graduating from Pepperdine University, he worked in the Bush 43 White House and the Republican National Committee before returning to his native Phoenix as an events director for Arizona State University’s McCain Institute for International Leadership.
Since the 2016 campaign, he has been a frequent guest on CNN, where he has been an open and unashamed surrogate for Trump. He even defended Trump calling African and Latin American countries “shitholes.”
On Wednesday night, The Post revealed that Dennard had been pushed out of the McCain Institute in 2015 for sexually harassing two of his female colleagues during much of 2013 and 2014. According to a 13-page report about the harassment, Dennard peeked at one woman’s breasts and touched another woman’s neck with his tongue. In the most lurid anecdote, he tried to get one of the women to sit on his lap, pretended to unzip his pants in front of her, and made “mastabatory gestures.”
Arizona State placed Dennard on administrative leave in the fall of 2014 pending an internal investigation. According to the report, Dennard claimed he was only joking. ASU didn’t agree, and fired him in the fall of 2015.
Within hours of this story going live, CNN took Dennard off the air pending its own review. He has also frequently appeared on NPR’s “Here & Now.” That program’s originating station, WBUR in Boston, announced on Thursday that Dennard would not appear on the show pending review.
During the 2016 campaign, Dennard was one of Trump’s most vigorous defenders when Trump faced numerous accusations that he degraded and harassed women. For instance, he claimed the “Access Hollywood” tape wasn’t a big deal because–wait for it–he didn’t do it “while he was running for president.” He also claimed that any talk about Stormy Daniels’ claims that a pro-Trump thug threatened her were “rude” and “offensive.” Suddenly, those statements have to be cast in a new and disturbing light.
When asked about the Arizona State report, Dennard dismissed it as “yet another politically motivated attempt to besmirch my character” just because of “my support for President Trump and the GOP.” Cliff Notes version: “WITCH HUNT!”
As if on cue, Ryan Saavedra of The Daily Wire wondered if Dennard’s suspension was a coincidence. He noted that a week earlier, Dennard had gotten in a heated exchange with former CIA and FBI agent Phil Mudd during a debate over Trump’s pulling of John Brennan’s security clearance. Watch here.
Dennard claimed that former national security professionals are using their clearances to line their own pockets. Mudd blew his stack, adamantly insisting that the government did not pay him a penny for his consulting services. When Dennard wouldn’t let go, Mudd snapped, “Get out!”
While most of the nation saw Dennard look foolish, Trump was very pleased–and openly wondered if this should be grounds to pull Mudd’s clearance as well.
Saavedra made clear what he thought about the matter with his headline: “Trump Praised CNN Commentator Paris Dennard. Now He’s Suspended.” Others on the right are of the same mind. Take Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch, for instance.
Former Trump counterterrorism adviser Sebastian Gorka was of a similar mind.
So was fellow black deplorable Wayne Dupree.
Deplorable Twitter took the cue–a brave, young, black conservative was the target of a witch hunt. More examples here.
Has it occurred to these people that maybe, just maybe, The Post was looking into Dennard before his latest appearance on CNN? Remember, The Post researched the Moore allegations for several weeks before going live. But then again, it seems that whenever a prominent conservative faces allegations of sexual misconduct, some elements of the GOP almost reflexively claim those allegations are part of a witch hunt by those evil liberals intended to silence them.
I’d wondered how Moore was able to remain standing in the face of allegations that should have finished him on the spot. Now I have my answer.
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