During his rally in Montana, President Donald Trump used the #MeToo movement to insult Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. And on Friday, one of the women who accused Trump of sexual misconduct, Rachel Crooks, spoke out against it.
At the Thursday rally, Trump said he had a plan for a potential 2020 debate against Warren if she challenged him in the presidential election.
"I'm going to get one of those little kits and in the middle of the debate, when she proclaims that she's of Indian heritage — because her mother said she has high cheekbones, that’s her only evidence," Trump said. "We will take that little kit ... but we have to do it gently because we’re in the #MeToo generation, so we have to be very careful."
Crooks — a candidate for the Ohio statehouse and one of 19 who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct and/or assault (all of which he has denied) — said this is unsurprising.
"Of course nothing that President Trump says anymore shocks me but I think it's truly despicable that he would mock the #MeToo movement" Crooks told MSNBC host Ari Melber. "He of course would make fun of it. He hasn't been held accountable for his own actions, so he would make light of the #MeToo movement. That makes perfect sense to me."
Three weeks before the November 2016 presidential election, Crooks came forward with her story of working at Trump Tower in Manhattan. Crooks said Trump repeatedly kissed her and grabbed her outside his building's elevator in 2005. (After a front-page profile of Crooks in The Washington Post in February 2018, Trump tweeted that the assault "Never happened!")
"The silver lining to President Trump's tenure is that women are uniting and resisting. And we are fed up with this behavior," Crooks told MSNBC. "That's what #MeToo is."
In May, Crooks won her Democratic primary for an Ohio House of Representatives seat in an unopposed race. “For others, especially those across the United States, I think they view me running as part of the anti-Trump movement that they want to support,” Crooks told The New York Times via email after her victory.
Her district, the 88th, is usually represented by Republican lawmakers. According to Vox, her district is composed mostly of Sandusky and Seneca counties. Both Sandusky and Seneca counties voted for Trump in 2016.
While she wasn't surprised by Trump's comments, Crooks said she isn't deterred and is excited for the campaign. "My candidacy is built on this idea that politicians though seem to not be held accountable, and President Trump is the epitome of that. I will continue to speak out so I can be a voice for women who don't feel like their voices are being heard," Crooks told MSNBC.
Crooks said the campaign has largely focused on district issues, but she she has received support nationally for speaking out. Crooks is a part of a wave of first-time female candidates vying for political office.
"Mostly locally everyone is very focused on what I can do for the district, but of course, I think, nationally people are engaged and encouraged by my candidacy because it is in direct response in some ways to the #MeToo movement, and President Trump being in office and not being held accountable for his actions," she said.
Crooks said she hopes voters hold people accountable in the upcoming midterm elections. Especially, she says, Republican lawmakers who have failed to hold the president accountable for his actions. "The Republicans who are letting him go and not holding him accountable are complicit in these actions. I hope in November that America votes them out."