A second actress has accused former president George H.W. Bush of groping her while being photographed with him.
The actress, Jordana Grolnick, said Bush joked at the time that his favorite magician is “David Cop-A-Feel.”
Grolnick told Deadspin that in August of 2016 she was appearing at a Maine theater near the Bush home in Kennebunkport. The former president attended the performance one night and went backstage during intermission and posed with the cast.
“We all circled around him and Barbara for a photo, and I was right next to him,” she 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!’”
Grolnick described how other people in the room “laughed politely and out of discomfort.”
She said former first lady Barbara Bush said “something along the lines of, ‘He’s going to get himself put into jail!’ to which we laughed harder.”
Deadspin contacted the Bush camp for comment on Grolnick’s account. Bush spokesman Jim McGrath issued an apology.
“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 in the statement.
“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.”
Earlier this week actress Heather Lind, in a now-deleted Instagram post, wrote that Bush “touched me from behind from his wheelchair with his wife Barbara Bush by his side. He told me a dirty joke. And then, all the while being photographed, touched me again.”
After Lind’s allegation McGrath said in a statement that “President Bush would never — under any circumstance — intentionally cause anyone distress, and he most sincerely apologizes if his attempt at humor offended Ms. Lind.”
In her Instagram post, Lind wrote that Bush’s security guard told her “I shouldn’t have stood next to him for the photo.”
Grolnick, too, told Deadspin that people warned her about standing next to Bush for the photo. She said she told people what happened. Her grandmother laughed it off, saying, “Oh, he’s just sick! He hasn’t been well for years!”
Her dad, though, got angry, she told Deadspin.
She said she didn’t seriously consider telling the theater or police about it. “I just thought, ‘Whatever. He’s a dirty old man.’”
She decided to come forward to support Lind, she said.