A woman says that former President George H.W. Bush groped her while she was near her husband during a 2014 event in Houston.
Christina Baker Kline described the incident at a Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy fundraiser in a Thursday op-ed for Slate.
“You wanna know my favorite book?” she wrote that George H.W. Bush asked her while she and her husband David Kline posed for a photograph with him.
“President Bush put his arm around me, low on my back,” Christina Baker Kline continued. “His comic timing was impeccable.”
“’David Cop-a-feel,’ he said, and squeezed my butt, hard, just as the photographer snapped the photo. Instinctively, I swiped his hand away.”
Christina Baker Kline noted her husband’s “mouth fell open” after he learned of George H.W. Bush’s alleged actions as he missed them during the photo opportunity.
The author added that a woman calling herself a friend of the Bush family then drove them home and commented upon the alleged incident.
“Our driver, who was stopped at the light, sat there for a moment, then leaned back and looked at us,” Christina Baker Kline remembered. “’I do trust you will be discreet,’ she said.”
“Her comment wasn’t menacing,” she added of the driver. “But in the moment I thought: She has heard this before.”
“The people around President Bush are accustomed to doing damage control. There must be many of us, I remember thinking. And now I know there are.”
Christina Baker Kline is the third woman this week to accuse George H.W. Bush of groping her in the past, following actresses Heather Lind and Jordana Grolnick.
“At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures,” spokesman Jim McGrath said Wednesday.
“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,” he added.
“Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely.”