Just after another former Ohio State wrestler came forward to say that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) was aware of sexual assault allegations against the team’s former doctor, President Donald Trump said he didn’t believe the accusers and instead believed Jordan.
Jordan, a powerful member of the U.S. House of Representatives, is a staunch Trump supporter. Multiple Ohio State wrestlers have said he knew of sexual assault allegations and inappropriate behavior by former team doctor Richard Strauss. Jordan said Wednesday that he knew nothing about any allegations against Strauss.
Rep. Jim Jordan confirms he knew Dr. Strauss when he worked at Ohio State University but denies he knew about any abuse: "There's no truth to the fact that I knew of any abuse… I never knew of any abuse from Dr. Strauss plain and simple" https://t.co/H68elc3CrK pic.twitter.com/EG7FwD2ffY
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) July 4, 2018
Trump said on Air Force One on his way to a rally in Montana on Thursday that he had no doubt Jordan was telling the truth.
“I don’t believe them at all,” Trump said to the press pool on the plane. “I believe him. Jim Jordan is one of the most outstanding people I’ve met since I’ve been in Washington. I believe him 100 percent. No question in my mind. I believe Jim Jordan 100 percent. He’s an outstanding man.”
Ex-wrestler said Jordan participated in ‘locker room talk’ about Strauss
Shawn Dailey told NBC that he was abused by former team doctor Richard Strauss a half-dozen times during his wrestling career at the school. He’s the fourth former wrestler to come forward to NBC and say that Jordan, a former assistant coach at Ohio State, knew of allegations of abuse against Strauss.
Dailey told NBC that he didn’t directly report Strauss’ groping to anyone but that Jordan participated in conversations regarding Strauss’ conduct when treating wrestlers for their injuries.
“I participated with Jimmy [Jordan] and the other wrestlers in locker-room talk about Strauss. We all did,” Dailey, 43, told NBC News. “It was very common knowledge in the locker room that if you went to Dr. Strauss for anything, you would have to pull your pants down.”
Dailey corroborated the account of one of those wrestlers, Dunyasha Yetts, who told NBC News that Yetts had protested to Jordan and head coach Russ Hellickson after Strauss tried to pull down his wrestling shorts when Yetts went to see him for a thumb injury.
“Dunyasha comes back and tells Jimmy, ‘Seriously, why do I have to pull down my pants for a thumb injury?’” Dailey recalled. “Jimmy said something to the extent of, ‘If he tried that with me, I would kill him.'”
Earlier in the week, NBC first reported that former wrestlers said Jordan knew of alleged abuse by Strauss. A former wrestler was on CNN on Wednesday and said Jordan witnessed inappropriate behavior by Strauss in the team showers.
Jordan’s denial is ‘hurtful’
Dailey told NBC that he’s a Republican and donated to Jordan’s first congressional campaign in 1994. He called Jordan a close friend, but said it was painful to see that Jordan was denying any knowledge of allegations against Strauss.
“But to say that he had no knowledge of it, I would say that’s kind of hurtful,” Dailey said.
Strauss, who died in 2005, is accused of inappropriate conduct by athletes from over a dozen sports at Ohio State. A school investigation is ongoing.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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