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CNN has suspended pro-Trump contributor Paris Dennard after the Washington Post published an allegation of sexual misconduct 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 over an allegation brought by a former student who said Dennard pressed 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 reports says according to a copy which the paper says they obtained.
Dennard did not immediately respond to inquiries from TheWrap over either the 2014 allegation or the CNN suspension, but he told the Post that he had never seen the full findings from the internal investigation and suggested 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 via 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 in recent months 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 Phillip Mudd, which earned him a direct shoutout from the President of the United States on Twitter. 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 ousted for good, he will become the latest pro-Trump conservative to come and go at the network in what has become an increasingly troubled role. Last year, Jeffrey Lord — also known for his colorful commentary defending the president — was fired by CNN after he tweeted “sieg heil” at a critic. And in January of this year, his replacement Ed Martin, was also dropped from the network after a desultory four month stint.