U.S. Reps. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., and Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa., have signed on to a letter asking for an investigation of sexual misconduct allegations made against President Donald Trump.
The letter, sent earlier this week, began with more than 50 Democratic women, including Bustos, asking that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee launch an investigation. The letter pointed to allegations by at least 17 women and noted that as members of Congress have come under scrutiny, "we cannot ignore the multitude of women who have come forward with accusations against President Trump."
The White House has denied the allegations, and Rep. Trey Gowdy, the South Carolina Republican who chairs the oversight panel, rejected the request in a letter dated Tuesday, saying the allegations are criminal matters. He referred the request to the Justice Department.
Bustos said Wednesday she is "disappointed, but not surprised" at the rejection. However, she added, “It doesn’t matter whether you’re working on a factory floor, Congress or in the White House, sexual harassment is unacceptable and this is a moment when we are saying no more."
For his part, Loebsack said in an email that "it is clear that a number of women have had a horrific experience and it takes great courage for them to come forward. Regardless of the political affiliation of the accused, these women deserve to have their voices heard.”
Bustos and Loebsack have been critical of the president but not as aggressive as some in their party. (Both voted against an impeachment resolution a week ago and Bustos declined to sign on to a lawsuit filed in June that accuses the president of violating the Constitution by financially benefiting from his office.) However, as sexual misconduct allegations have enveloped many powerful men in politics, media and business, the women who accused the president of misconduct last year have renewed their complaints. And they are being echoed by congressional Democrats, who have seen some of their colleagues resign or announce they would do so as a result of similar accusations.
More than 100 Democratic lawmakers had signed on to the letter, according to an updated posted on the web site of Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Florida. Frankel is the chair of the Democratic Women's Working Group, which initiated the investigation request.