Trump reacts to Matt Lauer firing, doesn't mention his own accusers

Last Updated Nov 29, 2017 8:08 PM EST

WASHINGTON -- One of the first comments made about Matt Lauer's firing Wednesday morning came from the White House.

The president's response came just 15 minutes after NBC's stunning announcement about Lauer.

"This is a sad day here at 'Today' and NBC News," Savannah Guthrie said on Wednesday's broadcast.

"Wow," Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter, "Matt Lauer was just fired from NBC for 'inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.'"

What the president didn't mention is that more than a dozen women have accused him of sexual misconduct.  

Last October, in the final weeks of the presidential campaign, Summer Zervos claimed she had repeatedly been harassed by Mr. Trump when she was a contestant on his NBC show, "The Apprentice."

"I tried to push him away. I pushed his chest -- put space between us, and I said, 'Come on man, get real,'" Zervos said.

Earlier this fall, Zervos' attorney served Mr. Trump a subpoena to preserve "all documents concerning any accusations that were made during the campaign that he subjected any woman to unwanted sexual touching and/or sexually inappropriate behavior."

The president's lawyers fought the request.

Throughout the campaign, then-candidate Trump dismissed the allegations.

"The events never happened ... never. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over," Mr. Trump said.

But Mr. Trump has not followed through on that threat. And one of his accusers told CBS News that she never believed he would sue.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders addressed the issue in late October and was asked if its official position is that all of the women are lying.

"Yeah, we've been clear on that from the beginning, and the president has spoken on it," Sanders said.

The president may also be trying to distance himself from the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape. One Republican ally has privately cast doubt on whether it was his voice on the NBC recording even though he had publicly apologized for it.

"This was locker room talk," Mr. Trump has said.

The White House said the president's position hasn't changed, but one Republican source said the president often creates his own reality.

  • Margaret Brennan

    Margaret Brennan is moderator of CBS News' "Face The Nation" and CBS News' senior foreign affairs correspondent based in Washington, D.C.