Rachel Crooks, one of the first women who said publicly during the 2016 presidential election that Donald Trump engaged her in sexual misconduct, has announced that she’s running for the state legislature in Ohio.
Crooks, a Democrat, said she was inspired to run for office because even though the #MeToo movement has led to consequences for many powerful men, Trump made his way to the White House despite accusations of sexual abuse, reported Monday.
“I think my voice should have been heard then, and I’ll still fight for it to be heard now,” she told Cosmopolitan. “Americans are really upset with politics as usual, and I want to be a voice for them.”
In October 2016, the New York Times reported the accusations against Trump by Crooks, who said Trump kissed her on the mouth without her consent after shaking her hand. During an interview with Megyn Kelly last year, Crooks said she was 22 and working at the Trump Tower when Trump “held onto” her hand “kept kissing” her.
“I don’t know how many times back-and-forth, multiple, and then he kissed me on the lips,” Crooks said. “I was shocked. Devastated. It happened so fast, I guess… I wish I would have been courageous enough to be like ‘what’s going on and you need to stop this.’”
Trump has denied the allegations of sexual misconduct against him.
Crooks, who is the director of international student recruiting at Heidelberg University in Ohio, said women in her liberal resistance group suggested she run for office. She has support from the Ohio State Democratic Praty, and if she wins the primary in May, she’ll run against Republican Rep. Bill Reineke.
Her platform is based on creating jobs, ensuring access to affordable healthcare, and redirecting education funding from charter schools to public schools, Cosmopolitan reported. Crooks said she expects critics to say she’s only capitalizing on her 15 minutes of fame from her accusations against Trump, but she feels ready to be a part of the momentum of women’s unity.
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“I think I’ve read and seen about as negative of things as I can about myself,” she said. “Once I sat down and mulled it over, I felt like it really was a duty that I had, that I should take on this responsibility firsthand and try to make a difference for other people.”