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Rejecting groping allegations, Trump backs GOP ally in Nebraska

The former president said Nebraska gubernatorial hopeful Charles Herbster, accused of groping eight women, is "innocent." But how does he know?


It was nearly three weeks ago when Charles Herbster’s Republican gubernatorial campaign in Nebraska faced its first real crisis: Eight women accused the first-time candidate of having groped them. Among the accusers was a sitting GOP state senator, who claimed Herbster reached up her skirt at an event in 2019.

In the days that followed, as Herbster denied any misconduct, The Nebraska Examiner, which first broke the story, reported on other witnesses coming forward to corroborate the accusers’ claims.

Several prominent Republicans publicly condemned the gubernatorial hopeful, including incumbent Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, who told reporters, “I think he needs to apologize to the women, then I think he should seek help, then he should step out of the race.”

Herbster clearly has a very different approach in mind.

As another woman went on the record to accuse the candidate of sexual misconduct, the Republican partnered with attorneys who worked for Donald Trump. Around the same time, the former president announced plans to hold a rally in Nebraska, and invited Herbster to appear and address the crowd as a featured speaker.

It was quite an event. The Lincoln Journal Star reported:

Railing against the political establishment in front of a crowd of more than 3,000 people on Sunday, Charles Herbster cast himself as an outsider running with the blessing of former President Donald Trump.... While Herbster did not address the accusations on Sunday, two other speakers — including the former president — came to his defense.

Herbster was introduced by Jack Brewer, a pro-Trump former football player, who insisted that the gubernatorial candidate’s many accusers were not to be trusted. “All those lies, all those people who came with a last-ditch effort for power, for money — we cast them out right now in the name of Jesus,” Brewer said.

Trump, meanwhile, who was also accused by a series of women of sexual misconduct, and who was recorded on tape boasting about assaulting women, said he traveled to Nebraska in large part because of the accusations against Herbster.

Referring to the allegations as “malicious charges,” Trump added, “That’s why I came out here. I defend people when I know they’re good. He’s a good man. He was with us from the beginning ... he’s an innocent human being.”

He went on to say, in reference to the gubernatorial hopeful, “It’s a disgrace what they’ve done and that’s why I’m with you. I could have got out of this one really easy.”

Trump didn’t answer any media questions as part of the appearance, which is a shame because there was one thing I really wanted to know: What makes Trump so sure that Herbster’s accusers are all lying?

The former president seems certain that Herbster is “innocent,” and that the allegations are “malicious,” but how does he know?

Or is this a situation in which Trump, having heard the accusations, simply doesn’t care?