A speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference drew the ire of audience members on Saturday when she expressed disappointment that “people on our side” have been silent about allegations of sexual harassment lodged against President Donald Trump and other Republicans.
Booed and heckled by the crowd, Mona Charen, had to be escorted out by security for her own safety following the event.
Charen, a veteran conservative political analyst and writer, was on a panel discussing feminism when she said she was “disappointed in people on our side for being hypocrites about sexual harassers and abusers of women who are in our party, who are sitting in the White House, who brag about their extramarital affairs, who brag about mistreating women.”
Charen added: “And because he happens to have an ‘R’ after his name, we look the other way, we don’t complain.”
Although she did not explicitly name the president, Trump talked about grabbing women by their genitals in a 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape that surfaced late in the 2016 presidential campaign.
Charen, who was a speechwriter for former First Lady Nancy Reagan, went on to criticize the Republican Party for supporting Alabama U.S. Senate hopeful Roy Moore “even though he was a credibly accused child molester.”
“You cannot claim that you stand for women and put up with that,” she said.
In an upset, Moore ended up losing the December special Senate election to Democrat Doug Jones
A Newsweek reporter at CPAC said Charen’s words were the most critical of Trump that he’d heard since the annual gathering began on Thursday. A straw poll of attendees showed a 93 percent approval rating for the president.
Following the panel discussion, Charen had to be escorted out of the event by three security guards, according to a Politico reporter.
Charen wrote about the experience in a New York Times Op-Ed that published on Sunday. The guards, she said, “seemed genuinely concerned for my safety.”
She also said she had been “dreading” her appearance on the CPAC panel, because she anticipated a negative reaction to what she was prepared to say about hypocrisy.
But when the crowd booed and jeered her, “I almost welcomed it,” she said. “There is nothing more freeing than telling the truth. And it must be done, again and again, by those of us who refuse to be absorbed into this brainless, sinister, clownish thing called Trumpism, by those of us who refuse to overlook the fools, frauds and fascists attempting to glide along in his slipstream into respectability.”
This story has been updated with comments from Charen’s Op-Ed.