President George H.W. Bush arrives for the coin toss prior to Super Bowl 51 between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
Former President George H.W. Bush apologized Wednesday for “(patting) women’s rears” after a second actress came forward to accuse the 93-year-old of groping her during a photo op.
“We all circled around him and Barbara for a photo, and I was right next to him,” Grolnick told Deadspin. “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!’”
Bush spokesman Jim McGrath acknowledged Wednesday night that Bush “routinely tells the same joke” to try to make people comfortable around him.
“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,” McGrath said. “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.”
The apology was the second issued by McGrath on behalf of the former president Wednesday. Earlier in the day, Bush apologized through his spokesman after actress Heather Lind accused him of sexually assaulting her in a since-deleted Instagram post.
"President Bush would never — under any circumstance — intentionally cause anyone distress, and he most sincerely apologizes if his attempt at humor offended Ms. Lind," the statement said.