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Republicans accept Trump's word following assault allegation

Trump has denied E. Jean Carroll's sexual-assault allegation. For his Republican allies, that's the end of the story.
Image: Lindsey Graham; Donald Trump

It's been nearly a week since E. Jean Carroll, a longtime writer and media figure, went public with her allegation that Donald Trump attacked her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s. The president has denied the claim, arguing, among other things, that his latest accuser isn't his "type."

At a Capitol Hill press briefing yesterday, a reporter asked House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) about the propriety of Trump's posture. "I don't, I didn't, I haven't seen that," the Republican congressman said, adding, "I know the president has said this is not true. I haven't, know anything else about it."

Asked if he believes Trump's denial, McCarthy said, "Yes, I believe the president."

As Politico reported, there's a lot of that going around.

Republicans believe Donald Trump. They're not so sure about the woman.The president's GOP allies in Congress are moving swiftly to dismiss new allegations of rape against him, arguing journalist E. Jean Carroll is eager to promote her new book and that Trump's denial of the alleged attack is credible."Quite honestly, as somebody who had a front-row seat to the Kavanaugh hearings, we've seen allegations that were false," said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.). "We'll let the facts go where they are, but I take [Trump's] statement at face value."

Igor Bobic, a HuffPost reporter, published a lengthy Twitter thread yesterday with quotes from a variety of GOP senators, most of whom had very little to say about Carroll's allegation. Some suggested they weren't even familiar with the controversy.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a Trump critic turned cheerleader, added, "[T]he president's firmly denied it. That's the end of it for me unless she shows something new."

Or put another way, Trump's word is his bond. It's not as if the president has ever given anyone reason to question his honesty, right?

It's a fascinating approach to evaluating claims of serious wrongdoing, especially from the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee: if those with damaged credibility, a history of flamboyant dishonesty, and a long list of accusers "firmly deny" something, there's no reason to consider the underlying claims any further.

But as irresponsible as Graham's line seems, the South Carolinian's quote summarizes the GOP line -- not just in this matter, but in response to practically every Trump controversy.