COMMENTARY | A fifth woman has come forward in the Herman Cain sexual harassment scandal. But Donna Donella insisted to "America's Morning News" radio program on Thursday that she was not "Accuser No. 5" as she was being portrayed in the media. She said she wasn't accusing Cain of sexual harassment, all allegations of which the presidential candidate has denied.
But wasn't she?
"I take issue with being labeled in the media as 'Accuser No. 5," she said in the radio interview. She made it clear she was not harassed by the presidential hopeful, nor accusing him of harassing her. "The only reason that I came forward is because I saw behavior, the one day that I met him … that was consistent with the pattern of his behavior described by his four actual accusers."
Donella, a management consultant, told ABC News Wednesday, Nov. 9, that at a business seminar in Cairo in 2001, Cain approached her afterward and asked that she invite an Egyptian businesswoman from the audience to have dinner with him. She refused and Cain immediately asked her to dinner. Donella said she found the request "odd" and Cain's tone "suspicious."
She told "America's Morning News," "I can't put a finger on it, but as most women will tell you, you kind of have a sense when men are on the up and up and when there are men who may not be. I had that feeling and so did my colleague, and that's why she jumped in and said, 'Oh, let's all go to dinner.' "
In short, Donella wants people to understand that her "intuition" told her Cain's "intentions might not be pure." She wants to corroborate the actual accusers' stories without actually offering any true corroboration, in effect implying that her inaction (not setting up the dinner with the Egyptian businesswoman) and actions (and that of her colleague) kept Cain from sexually harassing the businesswoman (and perhaps herself).
But aren't Donella's remarks accusations by implication, not knowing how "pure" Cain's intentions were? Donella is not directly accusing Herman Cain of sexual harassment, nor was she witness to any overt act of sexual harassment by the man now running for president. She's implying that he is capable of engaging in sexual harassment, based on her "sense" of men.
By that metric, everyone has the potential to be sexual harassers.
No, Donella is not 'Accuser No. 5.' She's 'Accuser-By-Intuition No. 1.'