White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the key difference between allegations of sexual misconduct against Democratic Senator Al Franken and those against Donald Trump is that the senator "admitted wrongdoing" while the president hasn't.
At a press briefing on Friday (17 November), Sanders were questioned about how the multiple sexual harassment allegations against Trump were different than those against Franken.
Franken apologised after radio news host Leeann Tweeden accused him of kissing and groping her without consent during a 2006 United Service Organizations tour in Iraq. She released a photo of Franken reaching for her breasts while she was asleep.
He is now facing an investigation in the Senate Ethics Committee with the senator saying he would cooperate.
On Thursday, Trump lambasted the Minnesota senator in a series of posts on Twitter. He tweeted: "The Al Frankenstien picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words. Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps?"
Trump's tweets immediately drew fierce backlash with many slamming the president as a "hypocrite" in light of the sexual harassment accusations against him by more than a dozen women. During the election campaign last year, the infamous Access Hollywood tape in which Trump bragged about groping and kissing women without their consent.
"I think in one case, specifically, Senator Franken has admitted wrongdoing and the president hasn't," Sanders told reporters. "I think that's a very clear distinction."
She also noted that the sexual misconduct allegations levied against Trump "was covered pretty extensively during the campaign."
"We addressed that then," Sanders said. "The American people, I think, spoke very loud and clear when they elected this President."
The White House's official stance on women who accused Trump is that they are lying.
Twitter, on the other hand, furiously slammed Sanders over her "bizarre" defence of Trump and her "ridiculous rationale".
"So lying good, honesty bad?" one Twitter user asked. Another chimed: "As with climate change, just because you deny it doesn't make it any less real."
"She's right. It IS a very big distinction. It's what distinguishes a man who has made a mistake from an unrepentant serial predator," one user tweeted.