A Third Woman Says George H.W. Bush Groped Her

Image via Getty.
Image via Getty.

Actresses Heather Lind and Jordana Grolnick both alleged that former President George H.W. Bush groped them from behind during a photo op. Now a third woman is saying he did the same thing to her, and she suspects there’s many more.

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On Thursday evening, author Christina Baker Kline published the story of her encounter with Bush for Slate, saying she was invited to Houston in 2014 as a guest at the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy fundraiser. She sat down to lunch with the family privately before the larger event, and then they all lined up for a group photo. Kline and her husband were getting ready for their picture, when Bush motioned her closer:

He cocked his head at me for a moment, then said, “You’re beautiful.”

“Thank you,” I said.

“You’re a writer.”

“Yes.”

“You wanna know my favorite book?” he whispered. I had to lean close to hear him.

“Yes, what is it?”

By now the photographer was readying the shot. My husband stood on one side of the wheelchair, and I stood on the other. President Bush put his arm around me, low on my back. His comic timing was impeccable. “David Cop-a-feel,” he said, and squeezed my butt, hard, just as the photographer snapped the photo. Instinctively, I swiped his hand away.

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That is in line with the statement a spokesperson for Bush gave Deadspin—that he likes to say the “David Cop-a-feel” punchline to “put people at ease” before photographs. He also allegedly said the same thing to Grolnick after asking her if she could guess his favorite magician. The spokesperson directed Slate to that same statement.

Kline says she told her husband what had happened in the car to the event, and was overheard by the driver, a friend of the Bush family who had offered to give them a lift:

Our driver, who was stopped at a light, sat there for a moment, then leaned back and looked at us. “I do trust you will be … discreet,” she said.

Her comment wasn’t menacing. But in that moment I thought: She has heard this before. The people around President Bush are accustomed to doing damage control.There must be many of us, I remember thinking. And now I know there are.

Read the full piece here.

Contributing Writer, writing my first book for the Dial Press called The Lonely Hunter, follow me on Twitter @alutkin

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DISCUSSION

Sadly, I think Bush’s age is showing. As dementia and/or Alzheimer’s or other aging diseases that affect the brain set in, we often start seeing inappropriate behavior. Typically, the inappropriate behavior never occurred before - it’s completely a function of how the brain is degenerating - but childlike impulses, meanness, and pushing boundaries are all common. We’re not hearing anything from anyone who was around him in his prime. These accounts are from after he was confined to a wheelchair, so in the last few years. And, he’s at that age where this kind of stuff happens. In most families, you don’t have to deal with pubic events when the brain starts to go and this kind of stuff happens, but for the Bushes, it’s hard. I’m no huge fan of the Bush family, but I do think this is a result of aging, and I think we all need to talk about what happens when we age more openly.