(The Hill) — Former President Donald Trump stumped on Sunday for Nebraska gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster, who has been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct.
Trump doubled down on his support of the candidate after the allegations emerged last week, and offered a spirited defense of Herbster on Sunday.
“He’s been badly maligned, and it’s a shame. That’s why I came out here,” the former president said of Herbster. “I defend people when I know they’re good. He’s a good man.”
“I have to defend my friends. I have to defend people that are good,” Trump also said. “He’s been my friend for 30 years. He’s the most innocent human being. He’s the last person to do any of this stuff and even the stuff they’re accusing him of. What’d they say? He talked to somebody. He talked. It’s a disgrace what they’ve done.”
During the rally, Trump invited Herbster to join him on stage, calling him someone who has been unfairly “put through a grinder.”
The candidate spoke briefly, praising Trump’s work while in office, including his Supreme Court appointments and moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
“The primary as you know is on May 10, and I think Charles is going to do very well,” Trump said after Herbster departed the stage.
Herbster is a businessman who previously contributed to Trump’s campaigns and advised the former president on agriculture.
Nebraska’s outgoing Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) has called the allegations against Herbster “beyond horrible” and is backing University of Nebraska regent Jim Pillen in the primary.
Eight women have accused Herbster of sexual misconduct, including state Sen. Julie Slama (R), who said he reached up her skirt and touched her inappropriately in 2019, according to The Nebraska Examiner.
Since the publication of the allegations, one of Herbster’s other alleged victims, Elizabeth Todsen, went public about her claims after first being included as an anonymous accuser in the report.
“For years I have struggled with an experience I had with Charles W. Herbster. At a political event in 2019, Herbster sexually groped me while greeting my table. This was the same night that Herbster aggressively grabbed Senator Julie Slama,” Todsen said, adding that coming forward was an “extremely difficult” decision for fear of repercussions.
“But after thinking about this for years now, I know that it is time that Nebraskans know about the horrible actions made by Charles W. Herbster,” she added.
The gubernatorial candidate has denied the allegations and called the report about him a “ridiculous, unfounded dirty political trick.”
Meanwhile, Trump has faced his own allegations of sexual misconduct, including from writer E. Jean Carroll, who accused him of assaulting her in a department store dressing room. He has also been accused of sexual misconduct by beauty pageant contestants, journalists and a contestant on The Apprentice.