First lady Melania Trump believes that women should present "hard evidence" when coming forward with claims of sexual misconduct. At the same time, she claimed to ABC News' Tom Llamas during a rare TV interview that she stands with women.
"I support the women, and they need to be heard," Trump said of the #MeToo movement. "We need to support them – and also men – not just women."
"Good Morning America" teased snippets Wednesday from the exclusive sit-down interview, which showed Trump reflecting on #MeToo and her role in the White House. The interview will air in full on Friday.
During the sit-down, Llamas asked Trump if she believed that men who have been accused of sexual harassment and assault have been treated "unfairly," as her husband's administration and members of the Republican Party have claimed.
"You need to have really hard evidence," the first lady replied. "If you accuse [someone] of something, show the evidence."
"I do stand with women, but we need to show the evidence," Trump added, clarifying her response. "You cannot just say to somebody, 'I was sexually assaulted' or 'You did that to me.' Because, sometimes, the media goes too far. And the way they portray some stories – it's not correct. It's not right."
During the interview, Trump also called out groups that have allegedly refused to collaborate with her because of her husband's politics. "It's sad to see that organizations and foundations I want to partner with choose not to because of the administration," she said. "And I feel they are choosing the politics over helping others."
In the teaser for the interview, Trump declined to name names, claiming that the groups "know who they are." "I don't want to put them out in front of the world," she added.
The first lady has been traveling the continent of Africa on her first solo trip, where she managed to avoid much of the mayhem surrounding the confirmation of Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in spite of multiple allegations of sexual misconduct. But her comments on #MeToo and the need for hard evidence echoes what many in the Trump administration and Republican Party have put forth.
It is the guideline that has largely remained true for prosecuting and convicting cases of sexual violence in the criminal justice system, which has significantly limited the number of cases brought forward to trial, as there is often very little "hard evidence."
When it came to Kavanaugh's confirmation, there was not ever a question of whether the accusations raised by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who says the former judge pinned her to a bed and tried to rape her in the 1980s while the two were in high school, were criminal. The debate was whether, given the severity of the allegations, Kavanaugh should have been confirmed for a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the nation.
While most Republicans, including the president, initially said they had wanted to hear Ford's testimony and were open to what she had to say, Trump has since mocked her account and expressed disbelief in her story. Meanwhile, Sen. Susan Collins, a more moderate Republican, had said that she believed Ford was sexually assaulted, although not by Kavanaugh.
Llamas said that, in his interview with Trump, no question was off the table, and the two talked more in-depth about #MeToo. Did he raise the issue of the infamous Access Hollywood tape, where Trump can be heard bragging about sexually assaulting women, and does the first lady believe that qualifies as "hard evidence?"