If you ever questioned the power of money and the role it plays in our society, look no further than the way the current sexual assault firestorm has hit Hollywood and other well-known industries in America. Powerful man after powerful man has been fired, shut out, dragged, and ultimately professionally destroyed.

However, the man in the most powerful position in the world, who has 16 and counting women accusing him of rape and or sexual misconduct, remains in office. This fact begs the question, “why?” It also leads me to believe that there are forces at play at the highest levels of leadership that we have absolutely no idea about and they are responsible for the public dismissal of the accusations against Donald Trump; a man who has never been coy about his sexual proclivities; neither in the past nor the present.

For whatever reason he is untouchable, and the only conclusion I can come to is that his wealth and influence, along with these elusive high-level forces, are keeping him safe. But how long will these things save him from the doom that so many with wealth and influence have met? Will the women who suffered sexual violations at the hands of the reality TV star turned president ever get their day of reckoning?

I know that there are a decent amount of think pieces on this subject. It has been on my mind a lot lately because I am utterly flabbergasted at the fact that Trump has not succumbed to the demise that others who have been accused of similar sexual misconduct have. At this point, men faulted with sexual harassment have been let go from their positions, many of whom were employed by networks, productions houses, agencies, and the like for decades.

From Matt Lauer to local fixtures like Steve Edwards of Good Day LA who was fired as a result of allegations, men on all sides are falling hard, and they are falling fast. The very mention of possible misconduct puts them in the hot seat and advocates of harsh punishments for those accused of such crimes feel that the repercussions thus far are fitting. Once considered impervious to the law, bigwig Hollywood men and Washington politicians are having what they’ve done in the dark come to light, and they are paying for their “indiscretions” big time. And again I ask why hasn’t Trump paid for his? Why is he still president?

America is a fickle place. It will bring fire and brimstone down on certain folks who do horrible things while at the same time spare others who are guilty of the same acts or worse. Just as much as Trump’s money, influence, and friends in high places have kept him in office, so have certain segments of society whose loyalty lies in a political party and not in human decency.

This is why I believe that there are people actively working to keep Trump in office, despite the sexual accusations against him. How hard is it really to remove him for the allegations levied against him? He should have never been elected in the first place. When will that segment of Americans wake up and realize the damage they are doing by keeping this man in office? Serving Donald Trump the same kind of justice that has been handed down to Harvey Weinstein and the lot of them is not about fairness. It’s not about making folks happy. It’s about the principal. It’s about what’s right!

All of the women who have come forth and told their horror stories about what Trump did to them are beyond brave. Not only do they have to deal with the same kind of leeriness that other victims of sexual assault have dealt with since the Weinstein story broke; their plight is just a little bit more complex because their issue is against a man who is rich and powerful and the president of the United States. That is still a hard thing for me to type.

I am encouraged by the tenacity of all the women who have come forth about their experiences with Donald Trump. They are fighters, and they continue to fight because right now, with the world pretty much turning their heads away from what they have to say, fighting is all they can do. As recent as December 11, 2017, three of his accusers have urged Congress to investigate the multiple allegations against Trump. I know that it’s frustrating seeing other men pay for their sins while the man who violated them lives his best life as he screws over the country. But just like a nagging child finally gets her way after relentlessly asking her mother the same thing over and over again, Trump’s accusers’ continued fight for the man to take responsibility for his actions will eventually make a difference. I have no other choice but to believe that.

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I have seen first hand how those with power and money can get away with the worst atrocities. And I have also seen how those very same individuals finally got exposed and reaped the consequences of their misdeeds. The optimist in me holds tightly to that very same karma for the man who has so much to say and so much to hide.

donald trump accusers step forward again

Donald Trump continues to claim that he doesn’t know any of his accusers, but the facts show a different story.

What Trump said on Twitter:

Despite thousands of hours wasted and many millions of dollars spent, the Democrats have been unable to show any collusion with Russia – so now they are moving on to the false accusations and fabricated stories of women who I don’t know and/or have never met. FAKE NEWS!

What the facts show:

The women he knew through business

Summer Zervos: Zervos was a contestant on the fifth season of “The Apprentice,” the reality show Trump hosted and where he served as executive producer. Zervos said that when she met Trump at Trump Tower in hopes of working for his company, he kissed her on the mouth and asked for her phone number.

A short time later, she said Trump asked her to meet him at a hotel in Los Angeles. When she arrived, she was taken to his room, where he grabbed her breast and attempted to pull her into the bedroom. Zervos said she resisted, that Trump stopped at some point and she went on to have dinner with him. She continued, unsuccessfully, to seek work with the Trump Organization.

Zervos has filed a defamation suit against Trump based on his denial in the campaign when he called all his accusers liars.

Jennifer Murphy: Another Apprentice contestant, but from the fourth season, Murphy said that Trump kissed her on the lips after a 2005 job interview. Murphy said she was a “little taken aback.” Murphy told her story during the campaign but was a Trump backer.

Natasha Stoynoff: In 2005, People magazine sent Stoynoff, a journalist, to Mar-a-Lago to interview Trump and his wife, Melania. Stoynoff said that at a moment when she and Trump were alone, he “shut the door behind us. I turned around, and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat.”

Stoynoff wrote the article, making no mention of the incident.

Jill Harth: Harth settled a 1997 sexual harassment lawsuit against Trump. In her complaint, she said she and her business partner, who was also her boyfriend, were at Mar-a-Lago to close a business deal with Trump. Harth said he pulled her into one of the children’s bedrooms.

“He pushed me up against the wall, and had his hands all over me and tried to get up my dress again,” Harth said. “I had to physically say, ‘What are you doing? Stop it.’ ”

A 1993 photograph of Harth (left) and Trump has circulated on Twitter.

In 2015, Harth emailed the Trump campaign, saying “I am definitely Team Trump.” However, she told her story during the 2016 campaign after hearing Trump’s global denial of any misconduct.

Juliet Huddy: Huddy is a former Fox News Host who had a business lunch with Trump at Trump Tower in 2005 or 2006. There was some discussion involving work with The Apprentice. In an elevator, as they were parting, Huddy said Trump leaned over a kissed her on the lips. After she told her story in 2017, Huddy tweeted that she “was neither threatened nor offended.”

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Encounters in passing

Jessica Drake: Drake acts in and directs pornographic films. She met Trump at a golf tournament in Lake Tahoe where he asked for and got her phone number. Trump later invited her to his hotel room. She went with two friends; she said Trump kissed each of them without permission. She said she left soon after. Drake then related how Trump called and offered her $10,000 to have dinner with him. Drake has a photo of her and Trump.

Jessica Leeds: Leeds said she was seated next to Trump on a flight in the 1980s when he suddenly groped her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt.

Rachel Crooks: Crooks worked in a real estate development office in Trump Tower. Crooks said she introduced herself to Trump as they stood outside an elevator, after that he kissed her on the mouth.

Lisa Boyne: Boyne said a friend invited her to dinner with Trump at a restaurant in the mid-1990s. During the evening, Boyne said, several models were called over, and Trump looked up their skirts and commented on whether they were wearing underwear.

Mindy McGillivray: McGillivray was helping a friend as he photographed a Ray Charles concert at Mar-a-Lago in 2003. McGillivray said she felt a hand on her rear end, turned and saw Trump right behind her. McGillivray’s friend told reporters he remembered the incident.

Karena Virginia: While waiting for a ride at the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament in Queens, N.Y., Virginia said Trump, whom she’d never met, came over to her. She said he pulled her close and touched her right breast.

Kristin Anderson: Anderson said that at a New York club in the early 1990s, Trump put his hand up her skirt and touched her vagina through her underwear.

Cathy Heller: Heller said she met Trump at a Mother’s Day brunch at Mar-a-Lago. In an interview with the Guardian, she said Trump grabbed her firmly, and even though she twisted away, he planted a kiss on her lips. A relative recalled the incident.

The beauty pageant connection

Temple Taggart McDowell: The former Miss Utah in 1997 said Trump kissed her on the lips when they were introduced at a rehearsal for the event.

Ninni Laaksonen: Laaksonen was Miss Finland in 2006 and appeared with Trump on Late Show with David Letterman. During a photoshoot with other contestants, Laaksonen said Trump squeezed her rear end. There is a photo from the show.

Samantha Holvey and others: Holvey competed in Trump’s Miss USA pageant in 2006. Holvey said Trump came into the dressing room and looked “me over like I was a piece of meat.”

Her account is consistent with how Trump himself described his habits at such contests. In a radio interview with Howard Stern, Trump talked about walking into the dressing room where women were at least partially undressed.

“You know, they’re standing there with no clothes,” Trump said in an April 2005show. “And you see these incredible looking women, and so, I sort of get away with things like that.”

A total of five contestants in a Miss Teen USA competition also told Buzzfeed that Trump came into their large shared dressing room when they were undressed.

On a Facebook post of the Miss USA 2013 participants, that year’s Miss Washington Cassandra Searles wrote that Trump “continually grabbed my ass and invited me to his hotel room.”

The final tally

If someone appeared on The Apprentice, had their picture taken with Trump, interviewed him, or had a relative confirm their story, it seems likely that at the very least Trump had met them. By that yardstick, Trump verifiably knew or met eight of the 16 accusers. It’s likely that all of the beauty pageant contestants also meet that standard, but we haven’t seen pictures of them standing side-by-side with Trump.

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