Cain’s Sexual Harassment Denials are Falsifiable—and Fatal

How you look at things.
Nov. 9 2011 8:51 AM

Cain of Denial

Herman Cain’s press conference about his sexual harassment accusers is a road map to his destruction.

(Continued from Page 1)

Nope. Kraushaar tells CNN that the incident Cain described was “so innocuous it wasn't even a part of my complaint." She says the truly inappropriate incident, reported in the complaint, occurred in her office, not Cain’s. Thanks to his denials, we’re certain to hear and read more about it.

On Fox News, Cain tried to explain Kraushaar’s departure from the NRA by claiming that her job “performance, it had been told to me by her boss, was not up to par.” That, too, can be checked. Kraushaar’s boss at her next job tells CNN that Kraushaar was “the utmost professional, one of the hardest working individuals I have ever known.”

In an Oct. 31 appearance at the National Press Club, Cain said he was unaware of any settlement of harassment allegations against him. Then he acknowledged that he had been told of an agreement. But two days later, he continued to insist that in his 40-year business career, “that was the only instance of accused sexual abuse—sexual harassment, the only one.” Now we know that at least two such accusations were settled for a combined $80,000, far more than Cain suggested. And a former employee of the United States Agency for International Development tells the Washington Examiner that three years after Cain left the NRA, he tried to get dinner dates with two women after a speech overseas. The stories just keep coming.

Advertisement

At his press conference, Cain said the allegations against him were uncorroborated. But former NRA pollster Chris Wilson has told an Oklahoma radio station, “I was around a couple of times when this happened.” Wilson referred to an incident “at a restaurant in Crystal City” in northern Virginia. According to Wilson, “many people were aware of what took place” there.

Week after week, Cain has misrepresented his past. He denied having said that families, not politicians, should make abortion decisions. He denied having said he would exclude Muslims from his cabinet. He denied having opposed an audit of the Federal Reserve. He dismissed his advocacy of an electrified border fence as a joke, then said he was serious about it. The public record falsified all of these denials. When CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Cain what he’d do if “al-Qaida or some other terrorist group” demanded that he “free everyone at Guantanamo Bay, several hundred prisoners” in exchange for a U.S. soldier, Cain replied: "I could see myself authorizing that kind of transfer.” Hours later, Cain said of Blitzer: "I don't recall him saying that it was al-Qaida-related.”

For all of this, Cain has gone unpunished. His rise in the polls has given him the illusion that he can go on making false and falsifiable statements, even when the question is sexual harassment. He’s about to find out the hard way that he can’t.

Like Slate on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. William Saletan's latest short takes on the news, via Twitter:

Latest Twitter Updates
    Follow William Saletan on Twitter.

     

      Slate Plus
    Slate Picks
    Dec. 19 2014 4:15 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? Staff writer Lily Hay Newman shares what stories intrigued her at the magazine this week.