The fact that 45% of the voting public was just fine and dandy with having a career rapist as president should be neither here nor there for the non-deplorable portion of the public:
He contacted one of his top executive assistants at the Capitol, Stephanie Benton, and made a blunt request: The governor wanted a specific female staff member to handle the minor assignment — a woman roughly half his age. That woman had joined the administration a few years earlier, eager to pursue a career in government and to put her bachelor’s degree in political science to good use.
She walked to her car parked at the Capitol and drove a short distance to the governor’s mansion. In a recent interview with the Times Union — her first public statements on the matter — she described what happened when she reached the office on the second floor: The governor came out from behind his desk, and began groping her in a sexually aggressive manner.
“And that wasn’t just a hug,” she said. “He went for it and I kind of like was, ‘Oh, the door is right there.’ … I was mortified that a woman who works here is going to come in and see. … I was terrified of that happening, because that’s not who I am and that’s not what I’m here for.”
As panic set in, it flashed in her mind that insulting the governor could cost her the career she had been working so hard to build.
“I said to him, I said, ‘You’re going to get us in trouble,'” she recalled. “I didn’t know what else to say. … It was pretty much like ‘What are you doing?’ That’s when he slammed the door (shut). He said, ‘I don’t care.'”
He walked toward her a second time.
“I remember exactly what I was wearing,” she said. “I remember him slamming (the door) so hard that I remember thinking to myself that I’m sure the staff is, like, ‘Is everything OK up there?’ He came right back and he pulled me close and all I remember is seeing his hand, his big hand. I remember looking down like, ‘Holy sh_.'”
“I was just so confused and so taken aback by it. … He never said anything, which was odd,” she said. “At this moment, I don’t know what to say — I don’t know what to do. Now my hives are coming out. I’m, like, swearing in my mind. I remember I walked out and he walked back into his office. … I remember going downstairs and escorting myself out and going to my car and sitting there for a second and going, ‘OK, I have to now go back into the Capitol, go back to my desk and do my job and pretend that, like, that didn’t just happen.’
“I didn’t have another choice. I remember (thinking), ‘You have to pull yourself together … even if you have to sit here for a couple minutes to do that,'” she continued. “If I told someone, I’m done. And who do you tell?”
As always in these situations, imagine the stories we haven’t heard.