The president and CEO of the conservative advocacy group The Family Leader is calling on Congress to investigate the allegations of sexual assault and harassment against President Donald Trump by more than a dozen women.
Bob Vander Plaats declared that Trump’s accusers “need to be heard” and said their allegations shouldn’t be dismissed simply because Trump was elected president.
“A lot of these ladies came forth in the election, and for whatever reason, the American people said, ‘We’re going to give the presidency to Donald Trump,’ ” Vander Plaats said in an interview on Iowa Public Radio. “That doesn’t mean their issue went away because he became president.”
“I think if these ladies need to be heard on this — and I think they probably should be heard — then let’s let the facts play out,” he added. “I don’t think it should be really dismissed.”
The top conservative activist, who endorsed Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2016 presidential election, added that Congress should launch an investigation into the allegations against Trump.
Vander Plaats’ comments come days after a group of Democratic lawmakers called on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to look into the sexual misconduct allegations against Trump. The committee’s chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy, shot down the request almost immediately, referring it to the Department of Justice, over which Trump has oversight.
But Norm Eisen, an attorney who served as ethics chief for the Obama White House, told PEOPLE that Democrats on the Oversight committee can look at the allegations “on their own, though they do not have formal power to hold an official hearing or issue an official report absent majority (Republican) consent.”
He added that there are other House and Senate committees that could look into the matter, calling Gowdy’s referral to the Justice Department “all the more reason” for the DOJ to take up the matter.
Three of the women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct also called on Congress to investigate the allegations in a joint press conference on Monday.
Trump, who has denied the allegations against him and called all of his accusers liars, later claimed in a tweet that he “didn’t know” the women or had never met them.
PEOPLE provided photo proof that he had, in fact, met several of his accusers, including PEOPLE writer Natasha Stoynoff, who alleged Trump pushed her against the wall and forced a kiss on her mouth in a 2005 interview.
- With reporting by DIANE HERBST