A former Republican candidate for state Senate in Maine has joined the ranks of women calling out President George HW Bush for allegedly groping them, bringing the number of accusers to four.
Amanda Staples told the Portland Press Herald in Maine that she was groped by Bush in 2006 in Kennebunkport.
Earlier thus week, Bush’s spokesperson blamed the awkward positioning of his arm while posing for photos on his being wheelchair-bound, but in Staples’ picture from 2006, he is seen standing.
Bush 41 has been relying on a wheelchair or motorized scooter to get around since 2012, after he was diagnosed with a condition that has Parkinson’-like symptoms.
Staples, a former teacher, wrote in an Instagram post on Thursday that the 41st president of the United States inappropriately touched her during a photo-op at Walker’s Point while they were chatting about lowering taxes.
The aspiring politician said of Bush that he ‘grabbed my butt and joked saying, “Oh, I’m not THAT President.’
Afterwards, Staples, then aged 29, wrote she ‘rationalized’ that the married elder-statesman, who was in his 80s at the time, ‘had become a dirty old man in his later years.’
Staples, who has a grown son, went on to write that if she had a daughter, she would never let her ‘shrug it off because he was President.
‘I can only imagine how many women have had their butt grabbed in a photo op.’
Eleven years later, Staples writes that while her encounter with George HW Bush has not left her ‘damaged,’ it has made her think about the ‘abuse of power.’
Besides Staples, two actresses and a bestselling author have so far spoken out about the former president’s alleged conduct with women.
Bush’s office says the 93-year-old has ‘patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner.’ The statement says he apologizes ‘to anyone he has offended.’
In an essay for Slate published on Thursday, novelist Christina Baker Kline claimed that the former president’s wandering hands were caught in an official photo from a Houston event for the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy in 2014, and that he even used the same ‘David Cop-a-Feel’ line on her that another accuser mentioned.
Kline says she and her husband approached Bush, now 93, for a photo after the private luncheon, to which she was invited as a guest author.
Kline writes that Bush told her he was beautiful and then, noting she is an author, said ‘You wanna know my favorite book?’
She writes: ‘By now the photographer was readying the shot. My husband stood on one side of the wheelchair, and I stood on the other. President Bush put his arm around me, low on my back.
‘His comic timing was impeccable. “David Cop-a-feel,” he said, and squeezed my butt, hard, just as the photographer snapped the photo.’
Kline says her husband, who was also in the photo on the other side of Bush, was completely unaware of what was happening at the time.
‘I wasn’t traumatized. I’m not angry. But it shouldn’t have happened,’ Kline wrote, adding that she hopes coming forward would ‘begin to effect change’.