Earlier this week, actress Heather Lind said in a now-deleted Instagram post that former president George H.W. Bush had sexually assaulted her. “He touched me from behind from his wheelchair with his wife Barbara Bush by his side,” she wrote. “He told me a dirty joke. And then, all the while being photographed, touched me again.”
That is not the end of things. Jordana Grolnick, a New York actress, has a story to tell that doesn’t sound very different at all. “I got sent the Heather Lind story by many people this morning,” Grolnick says. “And I’m afraid that mine is entirely similar.”
Rumors about Bush groping actresses in this manner have been circulating for a while. More than a year ago, a tipster passed word about the Heather Lind incident to Deadspin. We were told that Bush had, during a photo opp, groped her and told her that his favorite magician was “David Cop-a-Feel” while fondling her.
(Reached for comment, Bush spokesperson Jim McGrath provided the following statement: “At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures. 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. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely.”)
“We all circled around him and Barbara for a photo, and I was right next to him,” she says. “He reached his right hand around to my behind, and as we smiled for the photo he asked the group, ‘Do you want to know who my favorite magician is?’ As I felt his hand dig into my flesh, he said, ‘David Cop-a-Feel!’”
Grolnick says others in the room “laughed politely and out of discomfort.” Former first lady Barbara Bush was among those nearby. “[She] said something along the lines of, ‘He’s going to get himself put into jail!’ to which we laughed harder,” Grolnick says.
Grolnick went home and posted the backstage photo with the former president on Instagram.
ht/ The Other President in a Wheelchair