Paris Dennard: CNN Suspends Commentator Trump Called 'Wonderful' And Hired As Fellowships Commissioner

Paris Dennard has been suspended from his role as a CNN commentator after it came to light that he was fired from a job at Arizona State University over 2014 allegations of sexual harassment. Cheriss May/NurPhoto/Getty

A conservative commentator on the President's Commission on White House Fellowships who Trump praised as "wonderful" earlier this week has been suspended by CNN after it came to light that he had been fired from Arizona State University in 2014 for alleged sexual harassment.

On Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that pundit Paris Dennard, who also claims to serve as a member of the Donald J. Trump for President Advisory Board, was fired from his position as events director at ASU's McCain Institute for International Leadership after multiple women came forward claiming he had sexually harassed them.

In one such instance, a recent college graduate alleged that Dennard had told her he wanted to have sexual intercourse with her while touching her neck "with his tongue" during an event.

The newspaper cited a 2014 report from ASU, in which the woman alleged that Dennard also "pretended to unzip his pants" in the graduate's presence and tried to get her to sit on his lap. He also is accused of making "masturbatory gestures" at her.

A second woman had accused Dennard of looking at her breasts and saying "Don't worry, I've already seen it" after the woman tried to adjust her blouse.

The pundit, who has also contributed opinion pieces to The Hill and is a regular guest on NPR's "Here & Now" was found to have "engaged in much of this behavior in the workplace and/or during work events. Such conduct, of course, is inappropriate…unprofessional and unbecoming of a university employee, and in violation of ASU policy."

Ultimately, Dennard was placed on administrative leave and eventually "involuntarily separated" from his position in 2015, according to the Post.

On his website, Dennard states that he was an "official media surrogate for the victorious Donald J. Trump for President Campaign."

He also states that he "currently serves as a member of the Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. Advisory Board" and "was appointed by President Trump to serve as a commissioner for the President's Commission on White House Fellowships."

A December 2017 statement from the White House confirms Dennard's appointment as a "key addition" to the Trump administration, declaring Dennard as a "Member of the President's Commission on White House Fellowships."

The White House Fellowship program is meant to offer candidates with experience working with senior administration officials.

CNN reported on Wednesday that Dennard had been "suspended" from his commentary role as the newspaper investigates the allegations against him.

The broadcaster provided comment from a CNN spokeswoman, who said: "We are aware of reports of accusations against Paris Dennard. We are suspending Paris, effective immediately, while we look into the allegations."

The 2014 accusations against the pundit came to light just two days after Trump praised Dennard in a tweet, calling the commentator "wonderful."

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

"Just watched former Intelligence Official Phillip Mudd become totally unglued and weird while debating wonderful Paris Dennard over Brennan's Security Clearance," Trump wrote.

"Dennard destroyed him, but Mudd is in no mental condition to have such a Clearance. Should be REVOKED?" the president said on Monday.

This week was not the first time Trump has lauded Dennard's work.

During a February 2017 Black History Month Listening Session recorded by C-SPAN, in which Dennard participated as the then-Director of Strategic Communications of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Trump praised the commentator for "doing an amazing job in a very hostile CNN community."

"He's all by himself," Trump said, telling Dennard: "I don't watch CNN, so I don't get to see you as much as I want to. I don't like watching fake news."

In an email exchange with the Post, Dennard claimed that he had never seen the ASU's full report and had been "led to believe" it was "sealed and proprietary."

"I cannot comment on items I have never seen regarding allegations I still believe to be false," Dennard told the newspaper.

"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," he said.

Dennard has frequently spoken out in support of the president.

In addition to getting into a heated exchange with former CIA and FBI official Phil Mudd over security clearances, the pundit has also defended the U.S. leader after Trump railed against NFL players for taking a knee during the national anthem.

The White House and CNN have not immediately responded to a request for comment from Newsweek.