More than 50 female Democratic lawmakers on Monday asked leaders in the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to open an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against President Donald Trump.
In a letter to Chairman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings of Maryland, 59 lawmakers from the Democratic Women’s Working Group (DWWG) said the president’s own comments “appear to back up the allegations.”
“At least 17 women have publicly accused the President of sexual misconduct,” the letter reads. “Natasha Stoynoff recounted how the President pushed her against a wall and forced his tongue down her throat. Jill Harth described how the President attempted to get up her dress. Kristin Anderson detailed how the President touched her genitals through her underwear.
“The American people deserve a full inquiry into the truth of these allegations,” the lawmakers said in the letter, which lists the names of women who’ve made accusations against President Trump and summarizes a few of their stories.
The president has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct against him.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders reiterated to reporters Monday and last week that American voters decided what they thought of the allegations when they voted Trump into office in 2016.
The idea of sending a formal letter to Gowdy and Cummings to open an investigation into the accusations against the president has been percolating for “quite a bit,” Rep. Lois Frankel said Monday, but the timing did not feel right until recently.
“It was pretty obvious if we had sent it from Day One, it would have been dismissed for political reasons,” Frankel said.
Over the last week, lawmakers and the media have revisited the accusations against Trump that surfaced during the 2016 campaign as more people share their experiences with sexual misconduct by men in positions of power.
New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand tweeted Monday that the president should resign. But if he did not, she said, “Congress should investigate the multiple sexual harassment and assault allegations against him.”
Gillibrand said in November President Bill Clinton should have resigned after an inappropriate sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky in the 1990s.
Three of Trump’s accusers appeared at a news conference Monday demanding Congress investigate the allegations against the president.
“We cannot ignore the multitude of women who have come forward with accusations against Mr. Trump,” the letter reads, referencing the “Me Too” movement on social media to spread awareness of sexual misconduct that has pushed to the surface allegations against sitting lawmakers.
The letter added the president should be allowed to “present evidence in his own defense.”
Three members of Congress resigned last week amid of swirl of sexual misconduct allegations. Some lawmakers have pressed Reps. Ruben Kihuen and Blake Farenthold to do the same over sexual misconduct controversies they are facing.
Correction 10:08 p.m. | An earlier version of this story stated that House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy‘s office could not be reached for comment when a request for comment had not yet been sent. We will update this story with the chairman’s response.