Former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama released a joint statement in response to the sexual assault accusations against Harvey Weinstein Tuesday, but there was a significant admission missing.
What did they say?
“Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein,” the statement read.
“Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status,” the statement continued.
“We should celebrate the courage of women who have come forward to tell these painful stories,” they concluded. “And we should work to build a culture — including by empowering our girls and teaching our boys decency and respect — so we can make such behavior less prevalent in the future.”
What was missing from their statement?
While some other Democrat politicians have announced that they would be refusing the contributions made to their political campaigns by Weinstein, the Obamas didn’t even mention donations. Others have said they would reroute the donations to other liberal causes in order to show their disdain for Weinstein’s actions.
How much did Weinstein donate to Obama’s campaigns?
The movie mogul was a major supporter of Democratic causes — he gave $5,000 to Obama’s 2012 campaign and more than $66,000 to the Obama Victory Fund, according to The Hill.
Weinstein was also a “bundler” for Obama, meaning he organized events to encourage his wealthy and influential friends to donate in order to maximize their contributions while staying within campaign donation regulations.
Does this matter?
It does, if only in a symbolic sense. It’s easy to say they deplore Weinstein’s actions but it would be much more persuasive if they also refused his financial support as well. In refusing to do so, they are in good company — Hillary Clinton also put out a statement deriding Weinstein, but ignoring his contributions to her campaigns.