Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush apologized through a spokesman on Wednesday for what an actress described as a sexual assault but which Bush said was intended as a friendly pat and a joke to put her at ease during a picture-taking session.
Lind wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post that Bush “assaulted me while posing for a… photo.”
I got the chance to meet George H. W. Bush four years ago to promote a historical television show I was working on, he sexually assaulted me while I was posing for a similar photo. He didn’t shake my hand. He touched me from behind from his wheelchair with his wife Barbara Bush by his side. He told me a dirty joke,” Lind wrote.
Bush’s spokesman Jim McGrath, issued a statement in response to Lind’s post that sought to explain the former president’s behavior as an attempt to make light of social awkwardness posed by his own physical disability during photo sessions.
Confined to a wheelchair, as Bush has been for about the past five years, “his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he take pictures,” McGrath said.
“To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke – and on occasion, he has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate,” McGrath wrote. “To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely.”