— -- Seven women have come forward accusing former President George H.W. Bush of touching them inappropriately.
The first accusation was made in late October, and multiple other accusers have shared their stories since. The allegations concern reported incidents from as early as 1992, when Bush was in the midst of a failed re-election bid, to as recently as 2016.
The most recent allegation was published Thursday by CNN, in which a woman who was hosting a fundraiser for his re-election campaign said he gave her buttocks “a gentle squeeze.” CNN says the woman — who asked that her name not be published to avoid unwanted media attention — was “attending a fundraiser for Bush’s re-election campaign in Dearborn, Michigan.”
In a statement to ABC News on Thursday, his spokesman Jim McGrath said, “George Bush simply does not have it in his heart to knowingly cause anyone distress, and he again apologizes to anyone he offended during a photo op.”
The same statement was issued after another accusation was made Monday.
McGrath has repeatedly denied any intentional wrongdoing concerning previous accusations.
“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. 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,” McGrath said in a statement on Oct. 25.
Bush was not in a wheelchair at the time of some of the earlier claims, including the allegation published today by CNN.