Sen. Rob Portman: I Did Not Vote For Trump Because Of 'Access Hollywood' Tape


Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman weighs in on the wave of sex scandals sweeping Capitol Hill:

TODD: Do you believe the accusers of Donald Trump?

PORTMAN: Well, as you know, as the end of the election when the tape came out that you played earlier, I chose to support a different candidate than Donald Trump because of that.

TODD: Right.

PORTMAN: So, you know, you've got to have a process. I agree due process is important. But we also have to be sure that victims have the right to be able to come forward, that there is transparency here with regard to the situation in the House and Senate.

Outrageous to me that over the years, there has been taxpayer funding used for settlements without any notification or transparency. And also I think it's wrong the way victims are treated because they have to go through a laborious process. And it’s true that some victims would prefer to keep --

TODD: Right.

PORTMAN: To keep it private, and that’s fine. They should have a right to do that, but they should also have an expedited process to be able to bring their complaints.

TODD: Between the election of Donald Trump after "The Access Hollywood" tape and Roy Moore in Alabama, if voters send Roy Moore to the Senate and I know you want a Senate Ethics investigation in him if he gets sent to the Senate, but what are voters saying about our moral lines?

PORTMAN: Well, I think it's a fair question. I think voters care a lot about policy issues. The president talked about that in the tweet you mentioned. It includes tax reform, how you deal with the debt and deficit, it includes a lot of the issues that are very important to people, that are on the social side, issues like abortion, issues like gun control.

So, you know, voters are going to make those decisions based on a lot of different factors but one certainly is character, and I think the American people deserve to have the highest standards of ethical conduct by their elected officials. Period.

TODD: OK. But if the voters send back people that you believe ethically or morally are unsuited for the Senate, do you believe the Senate should expel those folks or do you think the voters, hey, you have to respect the right of the voters on that one?

PORTMAN: Well, it's an important question, but that's why you have an Ethics Committee. And I served on the Ethics Committee when I was in the House, went through that same process. The person that is the subject of that Ethics Committee process, by the way, was defeated in his re-election because of the information that we were able to provide to the voters of that district.

So, I think there is a way for this ethics process to work. It needs to be expedited, as I said. We need to get moving on it quickly.

TODD: All right.

PORTMAN: That needs to provide due process, but it also needs to provide the transparency to that voters know what the situation is.

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