Washington (AFP) – Donald Trump, whose presidential campaign was nearly derailed by sexual harassment charges and his boasts about groping women, tweeted Wednesday — International Women’s Day — that he had “tremendous respect” for women.
“I have tremendous respect for women and the many roles they serve that are vital to the fabric of our society and our economy,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
He later added: “On International Women’s Day, join me in honoring the critical role of women here in America & around the world.”
There were thousands of responses to Trump’s tweet, most of them criticizing the president for the way his health care and immigration policies affect women and families.
“@realDonaldTrump don’t wrench women and their children apart at the border. End the crusade against women’s health care,” wrote @MariaMelee.
“There’s not evidence of #45’s respect for women,” wrote a woman by the handle of BintibirdC. “Women are props & products for him. That is all.”
Trump faced a spate of sexual misconduct accusations in the weeks leading up to the election. He denied any wrongdoing and vowed to sue the more than a dozen women behind the claims, although no lawsuit had been filed yet.
Many of the charges came after a 2005 videotape of Trump bragging about grabbing women “by the pussy” surfaced in early October.
Trump claimed that his taped comments were “locker-room banter,” and denounced the sex assault allegations as lies and fabricated stories.
The remark led to knitted pink caps with “pussy cat” ears becoming one of the main symbols of massive women-led anti-Trump rallies across US cities the day after the president’s inauguration in January.
Several people responded to Trump’s messages on Wednesday by tweeting the full text of the president’s crude remarks in the 2005 video, while others tweeted links to news stories about the video.