Former President George H.W. Bush is facing new allegations from a Michigan woman who said he touched her inappropriately while he was in office at an event in April 1992.
The woman, now 55, spoke exclusively with CNN and said she was attending a fundraiser for Bush’s re-election campaign in Dearborn, Michigan, with her father when the president grabbed her rear end during a photo-op.
“We got closer together for a family photo and it was like ‘Holy crap!’” she said, describing the moment Bush touched her buttocks. “It was like a gentle squeeze.”
In the moment, the woman said, she just smiled for the camera. There were people all around, including US Secret Service, but she does not believe anyone else noticed. She said she rationalized the moment to herself back then by saying they were moving closer together for the photo and so “it was probably an accident.”
Recent reports about groping allegations against the former president, now 93 and in a wheelchair, made her rethink that incident.
“All the focus has been on ‘He’s old.’ OK, but he wasn’t old when it happened to me,” she told CNN. “I’ve been debating what to do about it.”
Her story – remarkably similar to the accounts shared by at least six other women who said the former president groped them during photo-ops between 2003 and 2016 – is significant, because it is the first time a woman has come forward to accuse Bush of unwanted touching while he was in office.
This latest Bush accuser asked that her name not be published to avoid unwanted media attention. However, CNN has spoken with the woman’s ex-husband and her best friend, both of whom she told of the incident soon after it occurred.
“I remember her coming home and her saying he (Bush) said (to her father), ‘Is that your daughter?’ or ‘Who’s that with you?’ and her dad said, ‘It’s my daughter,’ and he said, ‘Well, get her in the picture,’” the woman’s ex-husband said. “She tried to write it off as ‘move in closer’ – but no, it wasn’t. The hand definitely was across the butt. It wasn’t across the waist.”
The woman shared with CNN the photograph of the moment during which she said Bush grabbed her, along with the transcript of his address to the Dearborn fundraiser and recent texts from her ex-husband and a co-worker referring to the 1992 incident in the wake of the groping allegations against Bush that surfaced in October.
Her best friend noted that the woman had a “strange look on her face in the photograph” and she asked her whether that was the moment the president grabbed her.
“I said, ‘Is that when it happened?’ And she said ‘Yes,’” the friend said.
Bush spokesman Jim McGrath declined to comment on this latest allegation.
Actress Heather Lind, who appeared in the AMC series “Turn: Washington’s Spies,” wrote in October that Bush touched her inappropriately a few years ago as they were posing for a photograph, and while she did not get into the specifics of the incident, she referred to it as a sexual assault.
“He didn’t shake my hand. He touched me from behind his wheelchair with his wife, Barbara Bush, by his side and told me a dirty joke. And then, all the while being photographed, touched me again,” Lind wrote in a now-deleted post on Instagram.
A second actress, Jordana Grolnick, described a 2016 incident in which she said she was groped by Bush.