Nikki Haley: Women accusers should be heard, even if Trump is target

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said on Sunday she believes any woman who has felt violated or mistreated by a man has every right to speak up, even if it is President Donald Trump they are accusing.
US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley talks to staff members of the US embassy in Juba, South Sudan, on Oct 25, 2017.
US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley talks to staff members of the US embassy in Juba, South Sudan, on Oct 25, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said on Sunday (Dec 10) she believes any woman who has felt violated or mistreated by a man has every right to speak up, even if it is President Donald Trump they are accusing.

Accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior or misconduct have led to the resignations of three members of Congress this month. The growing wave of women reporting abuse or misconduct has brought down powerful men from Hollywood to Washington, from movie producer Harvey Weinstein to popular television personality Matt Lauer.

More than 10 women have accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct before he was president, and Trump, while filming a segment of the television programme Access Hollywood, said he has kissed and groped women.

The tape emerged during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Haley, discussing a cultural shift of women coming forward on the CBS Face the Nation programme, applauded women who have come forward: "I'm proud of their strength. I'm proud of their courage."

Asked how people should assess the accusers of the president, Haley said, it was "the same thing."

"Women who accuse anyone should be heard. They should be heard and they should be dealt with, and I think we heard them prior to the election," she said. "I think any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way - they have every right to speak up."

Whether Trump's election settled the matter was "for the people to decide," Haley said.

"I know that he was elected but women should always feel comfortable coming forward and we should all be willing to listen to them."

On Tuesday (Dec 12), voters in the heavily Republican state of Alabama will cast their ballots in a race involving Republican Roy Moore, a former state judge, and Democrat Doug Jones, a former US attorney. 

Moore has been accused of sexual misconduct toward women when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s.

One woman said he tried to initiate sexual contact with her when she was 14.  Reuters has not independently verified the accusations, which Moore, a conservative Christian, has denied. 

Many Republicans, including Alabama’s senior US senator, Richard Shelby, have distanced themselves from Moore. But Trump has endorsed him, saying he wants to see the Senate seat stay in Republicans’ hands.