WASHINGTON ― The Republican National Committee said Tuesday that it plans to keep donations from hotel magnate Steve Wynn, even though he is accused of sexually harassing and assaulting women who worked for him.
The RNC’s insistence that it is entitled to Wynn’s contributions comes after the party argued that Democrats absolutely had to give back money they received from media mogul Harvey Weinstein, who also faced claims of sexual harassment and assault.
Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that dozens of employees who had worked for Wynn described behavior “that cumulatively would amount to a decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct.” In one instance, he paid a $7.5 million settlement to a manicurist who says Wynn demanded she have sex with him.
RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel told Fox News on Tuesday that she found the stories “troubling,” but she’s willing to give Wynn the benefit of the doubt for now because he says the allegations aren’t true.
“They were so troubling that within 24 hours, Steve was no longer our finance chair,” McDaniel said. “But Steve has denied these allegations. Unlike Harvey Weinstein and [former Democratic Sen.] Al Franken and others, Steve has denied them. There is an investigation that’s going to take place. He should be allowed due process. If he is found of any wrongdoing, we’ll return 100 percent of that money.”
Wynn wasn’t just any donor to the Republican Party. He was the finance chairman for the RNC and part of President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee, and he has donated millions over the years (primarily to GOP candidates and committees).
McDaniel insists there must be “due process” for Wynn, although the party had no problem pushing him out as finance chair ― because it did, indeed, look bad for the RNC to have him running its fundraising. But due process is evidently very important when it comes to money he’s donated to the RNC. Wynn has given roughly $1.3 million to GOP campaign committees.
The RNC also aggressively went after Democrats ― particularly the Democratic National Committee ― when the Weinstein allegations came out. The RNC insisted that its Democratic counterpart return the $300,000 Weinstein donated.
McDaniel said the difference between Weinstein and Wynn is that Wynn is insisting he’s innocent. It’s a distinction the party has made repeatedly, including with Trump, the man at the top of the Republican Party who has also been accused of sexual misconduct by numerous women.
The RNC also decided to stand by Republican Roy Moore in Alabama’s recent special election for Senate, even though Moore was accused of pursuing ― and assaulting ― teenage girls when he was in his 30s.
In other words, it appears the RNC will stand by any man as long as he denies whatever he’s accused of doing.
Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who runs the group in charge of electing Republicans to the Senate, told MSNBC on Tuesday that he doesn’t know what his National Republican Senatorial Committee will do with the $100,000 Wynn has given them.
“We’ll make sure we do the appropriate action,” Gardner said.
When pressed, he said he still wasn’t sure what that was.
Correction: This piece originally stated that Wynn donated $1.3 million to the RNC. That number is the amount he has donated to the RNC and the House and Senate campaign committees.