Former President George H.W. Bush issued a second apology, this time acknowledging he has groped women “on occasion” during photo-ops, just as a second actress accused him of doing so to her.
“I got sent the Heather Lind story by many people this morning,” New York actress Jordana Grolnick said in an interview. “And I’m afraid that mine is entirely similar.”
During a photo-op, she said the former president joked to the group that his favorite magician was “David Cop-a-Feel” while reaching “his right hand around to [her] behind.” Unsure what to do at the time, she uncomfortably laughed. In a bombshell accusation on Wednesday morning, Lind similarly claimed he touched her “from behind from his wheelchair with his wife Barbara Bush by his side” and then told her a “dirty joke” while taking a picture with him four years ago.
“At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures,” a spokesperson for Bush released a lengthier apology on Wednesday evening. “To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke — and on occasion, he has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely.”
“I should have been a little more alarmed to be touched so inappropriately by a man who was once the leader of the free world. He knows the power he has, and the reverence he deserves, even while sitting perhaps somewhat senile in a wheelchair.” Grolnick wrote in a since deleted Instagram post. “What I’ve come to realize is that if we tolerate these small comments and grazes from men on the street or former presidents, they might assume that it’s ok with us, and they may take it as permission to do who-knows-what else. I realize that making light of the situation was the wrong move. It wasn’t ok for him to do that to me. He wasn’t able to give me a job or a movie deal, so I didn’t feel compromised or pressured to do anything more, but the comments and assumptions about our bodies must stop, at all levels.”