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R.N.C. Accepts Money From Steve Wynn, Mogul Accused of Sexual Misconduct

President Trump has generally bucked the #MeToo movement, siding instead with the men who deny accusations of sexual assault or misconduct.

Now, the Republican National Committee appears to be following his lead.

Steve Wynn, the billionaire former casino mogul who resigned as chairman of Wynn Resorts and as finance chairman of the R.N.C. last year after The Wall Street Journal revealed allegations of sexual assault and harassment spanning decades, has recently donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the committee.

On Thursday, he was spotted by television cameras arriving at a high-dollar fund-raising dinner for Mr. Trump and the committee, dressed in a red blazer and matching red tie.

The event, a 40-person dinner with the president on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, was hosted by Howard Lutnick, the chief executive of the Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald, and raised more $5 million, according to Trump aides. Dinner attendees, in conversations after the event, did not mention that Mr. Wynn, 77, had been there.

It was not clear whether Mr. Trump and Mr. Wynn, who has denied the allegations, spoke privately at Mr. Lutnick’s penthouse.

Politico reported last week that Mr. Wynn gave $248,500 to the Republican National Committee and an additional $150,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee in April. In the past, both he and his wife have donated, but this time it was just him.

Republican officials insisted that there was a difference between holding the position of finance chairman while fighting off serious allegations of sexual misconduct, and simply donating money.

Still, the R.N.C.’s decision to accept money from Mr. Wynn — and to not return funds he contributed in the past — opens the fund-raising committee up to questions of hypocrisy.

Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the R.N.C., has frequently called for the Democratic National Committee to return all money received from Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer who was accused by dozens of women of harassment, assault and rape and who was a prolific Democratic donor and a close friend of Hillary Clinton’s.

“During three-decades worth of sexual harassment allegations, Weinstein lined Democrat pockets with millions of dollars,” Ms. McDaniel wrote on Twitter in 2017. “If the DNC truly stands up for women like they say they do, then returning Weinstein’s dirty money should be a no-brainer.”

The Democratic National Committee has given away some of Mr. Weinstein’s contributions. Ms. McDaniel has drawn a distinction between Mr. Wynn and Mr. Weinstein because, she said, Mr. Wynn denied the charges against him. But Mr. Weinstein, who was charged in New York with rape, has pleaded not guilty.

“While we must take any allegations like these seriously, everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence and due process,” she said in a statement. “Over the last year and a half, multiple investigations into the allegations against Steve Wynn have concluded. Throughout this entire process, Steve has repeatedly and unequivocally denied wrongdoing, and he has not been charged with or found guilty of any crimes. At this point, there is no reason for refusing his support.”

Mr. Wynn was accused of rape by a former salon employee, as well as a long pattern sexual misconduct. He resigned as chairman of Wynn Resorts, and as the committee’s finance chairman, early last year.

But he has not been excommunicated by Mr. Trump, who has his own troubled history with women, has bragged about sexual assault and has consistently shown that he sticks by men — at least of his own party — who proclaim their innocence against accusations of sexual misconduct. Last month, Mr. Wynn met with Mr. Trump on the tarmac in Las Vegas after the president’s address before the Republican Jewish Coalition.

Source: NYT

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