Herman Cain continued to deny any wrongdoing related allegations made against him that he sexually harassed two women during his days as head of the National Restaurant Association, dismissing the accusations as a "witch hunt."
"I told you this bull's eye on my back has gotten bigger,” Cain said emphatically during an appearance at the National Press Club in Washington. "We have, I have no idea the source of this witch hunt -- and that’s what this is."
When asked about it at the start of the question-and-answer session, Cain said, “I would be delighted to clear the air.”
He reiterated what he said on FOX earlier: “I have never sexually harassed anyone. … I was accused of sexual harassment, falsely accused, I might add.”
He said he recused himself from the National Restaurant Association’s investigation of the accusations, saying it was handled by Human Resources and the association’s general counsel.
Cain claimed the investigation concluded that there was no wrongdoing on his part. But, he said, for him “enough said about the issue” and he would not be working with the restaurant association to release more information. (It’s not clear he could anyway because of confidentiality agreements.)
He also reiterated that despite being chief executive officer he was “unaware of a settlement that came out of that accusation.” And he joked again that he hoped the accusers didn’t get much, because, “I have never sexually harassed anyone. Those accusations are totally false.”
The National Restaurant Association today released the following statement:
“The incidents in question relate to personnel matters that allegedly took place nearly fifteen years ago. Consistent with our longstanding policy, we don’t comment on personnel issues relating to current or former employees,” said Sue Hensley, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Communications for the National Restaurant Association.
*** UPDATE *** Cain sang a few bars of a gospel song to close out his remarks.