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January 03, 2018 11:41 AM

Meryl Streep is turning attention to the White House when it comes to silence in the wake of the sexual harassment scandals rocking Hollywood.

In a new interview with the New York Times, the Oscar winner, 68, put pressure on Melania and Ivanka Trump to speak up about sexual misconduct when asked to comment on the backlash she received for not responding to the Harvey Weinstein allegations sooner.

“I don’t want to hear about the silence of me,” Streep said. “I want to hear about the silence of Melania Trump. I want to hear from her. She has so much that’s valuable to say. And so does Ivanka. I want her to speak now.”

In the initial New York Times article, published Oct. 5, eight women — including actress Ashley Judd — spoke out against Weinstein, accusing him of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior. Streep issued her statement on the accusations on Oct. 9.

The actress said that the reason she didn’t immediately respond is because she was assimilating the news and examining how that changed her perspective on her life.

“I really had to think. Because it really underlined my own sense of cluelessness, and also how evil, deeply evil, and duplicitous, a person he was, yet such a champion of really great work,” she told the New York Times. “You make movies. You think you know everything about everybody. So much gossip. You don’t know anything. People are so inscrutable on a certain level. And it’s a shock. Some of my favorite people have been brought down by this, and he’s not one of them.”

WATCH: Meryl Streep Defends Herself After Rose McGowan Calls Her Protest of Harvey Weinstein Hypocritical

“The disgraceful news about Harvey Weinstein has appalled those of us whose work he championed, and those whose good and worthy causes he supported,” Streep said in her initial statement. “The intrepid women who raised their voices to expose this abuse are our heroes. One thing can be clarified. Not everybody knew. Harvey supported the work fiercely, was exasperating but respectful with me in our working relationship, and with many others with whom he worked professionally.”

Streep was nominated for an Academy Award for her turn in 2013’s August: Osage County, which Weinstein executive produced. She won an Academy Award for 2012’s Weinstein Company release, The Iron Lady. At the 2012 Golden Globes, upon accepting the award for Best Actress (Drama) for her performance in The Iron Lady, Streep said: “I just want to thank my agent and God Harvey Weinstein.”

Meryl Streep and Harvey Weinstein
Frazer Harrison/Getty

In a statement to PEOPLE, Weinstein’s attorneys have denied any allegations of sexual assault.

“Mr. Weinstein has never at any time committed an act of sexual assault, and it is wrong and irresponsible to conflate claims of impolitic behavior or consensual sexual contact later regretted, with an untrue claim of criminal conduct,” his lawyers said. “There is a wide canyon between mere allegation and truth, and we are confident that any sober calculation of the facts will prove no legal wrongdoing occurred.”

The actress is part of a large group of women in the industry who created the Time’s Up movement. Over 300 prominent actresses and female agents, writers, directors, producers and entertainment executives signed an  impassioned open letter that officially announced the movement on New Year’s Day.

The movement also created a legal defense fund to help low resource victims defend themselves against sexual harassment, with Streep donating $500,000, one of the largest sums.

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