CNN has suspended pro-Trump contributor Paris Dennard after the Washington Post published a sexual misconduct accusation stemming from his time working at Arizona State University in 2014.
“We are aware of reports of accusations against Paris Dennard. We are suspending Paris, effective immediately, while we look into the allegations,” a CNN spokesperson told TheWrap late Wednesday evening.
According to the Post, Dennard was ousted from the school’s McCain Institute for International Leadership after an internal investigation after a former student accused Dennard of pressing her for sex.
“He ‘pretended to unzip his pants in her presence, tried to get her to sit on his lap, and made masturbatory gestures,'” the report said according to a copy that the paper obtained.
Dennard did not immediately respond to inquiries from TheWrap over either the 2014 accusation or the CNN suspension, but he told the Post that he had never seen the full findings from the internal investigation and suggested that his dismissal at the time was politically motivated.
“I cannot comment on items I have never seen regarding allegations I still believe to be false,” he told the paper in an email. “This is sadly another politically motivated attempt to besmirch my character, and shame me into silence for my support of President Trump and the GOP.”
Dennard, who held various positions in the George W. Bush White House, has become known for his pro-Trump commentary on CNN. He is also a frequent opinion contributor to The Hill and makes regular appearances on the NPR program “Here & Now.”
Dennard came to wider public prominence earlier this week after a tough exchange with CNN contributor Philip Mudd, which earned him a direct praise from the president of the United States. Trump also blasted Mudd, a former CIA operative, and warned that he might revoke his security clearance.
Just watched former Intelligence Official Phillip Mudd become totally unglued and weird while debating wonderful @PARISDENNARD over Brennan’s Security Clearance. Dennard destroyed him but Mudd is in no mental condition to have such a Clearance. Should be REVOKED? @seanhannity
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 21, 2018
If Dennard is ultimately fired, he will become the latest pro-Trump conservative to leave the network in what has become an increasingly troubled role. Last year, Jeffrey Lord — also known for his defense of the president — was fired by CNN after he tweeted “Sieg Heil” at a critic. In January, his replacement, Ed Martin, was also dropped from the network after a four-month stint.