It was November 2014 and Bill Cosby was in the early stages of a snowballing sexual-assault scandal that would eventually result in dozens of damning accusations against him.
Early on, as the accusations against the once-beloved entertainer were beginning to mount, Cosby remained silent — a decision that confounded a future Republican presidential nominee.
Asked by an E! reporter to comment on Cosby, Donald Trump — a man who had weathered numerous scandals of his own over the years — offered the comedian some advice.
“Well, I think it’s very sad, and frankly I don’t think he’s handling it very well,” Trump told the network as he stood beside his wife, Melania, on the red carpet at the New York Ball benefit at Trump Tower.
“And he should say something because he is being accused of terrible things,” Trump continued. “And to have absolutely no comment ― I think he’s getting very bad advice from a PR standpoint.”
“And he should do it differently,” Trump added. “He’s not doing a very good job of handling it.”
Cosby had been confronted days earlier by NPR’s Scott Simon during an interview about an art loan to the National Museum of African Art, according to The Washington Post’s Emily Yahr.
“This question gives me no pleasure, Mr. Cosby, but there have been serious allegations raised about you in recent days,” Simon said, without elaborating on the nature of the claims.
There was a long pause. “You’re shaking your head no,” the “Weekend Edition” host said. “I’m in the news business, I have to ask the question: Do you have any response to those charges?”
There was another long pause.
“Shaking your head no,” Simon continued, then said again: “There are people who love you who might like to hear from you about this — I want to give you the chance.”
Again, there was no response. (Listen to the audio here.)
In a statement posted on Billcosby.com the morning after the NPR interview aired, Cosby attorney John P. Schmitt said: “Mr. Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment.”
Nearly two years later, with Trump facing his own sexual-assault allegations, he has followed his old advice and aggressively denied accusations that he groped and kissed women without their consent.
Referencing a New York Times report about two women who say he touched them or kissed them without their permission, Trump tweeted:
The Republican presidential nominee also disputed an article written by a former People magazine reporter, who accused Trump of kissing her without her consent. Natasha Stoynoff wrote Wednesday that the incident occurred in 2005 at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, when they were alone while she was there to interview him and wife Melania.
On Thursday, Trump didn’t hesitate to push back:
Cosby was eventually charged in Pennsylvania with three counts of aggravated indecent assault. His trial is scheduled to begin in June.
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