- The White House released a new response to allegations by 19 women that President Donald Trump sexually harassed or assaulted them, accusing the alleged victims of having political motives.
- Jessica Leeds, Rachel Crooks, and Samantha Holvey spoke out against Trump on NBC News’ “Megyn Kelly Today” as national attention is refocusing on the president’s alleged misconduct.
The White House accused three of the 19 women who allege that President Donald Trump sexually harassed or assaulted them of engaging in a “publicity tour” to spread their “false claims,” which the White House maintains are politically motivated.
The accusers, Rachel Crooks, Samantha Holvey, and Jessica Leeds, all came forward with their accusations against Trump during the 2016 presidential election and are receiving new attention amid a national conversation about sexual harassment and assault. The three women appeared on NBC News’ Megyn Kelly Today on Monday morning to talk about their experiences with Trump.
Kelly interrupted her conversation with the women to announce that the White House had released a new response to the allegations – the first official statement concerning the allegations since the election. Kelly read the statement, which she was seeing for the first time, aloud to the audience.
“These false claims, totally disputed in most cases by eyewitness accounts, were addressed at length during last year’s campaign, and the American people voiced their judgment by delivering a decisive victory,” the statement read.
It continued, “The timing and absurdity of these false claims speaks volumes and the publicity tour that has begun only further confirms the political motives behind them.”
Crooks called the statement “laughable” and challenged Trump to release a security tape of her encounter with him in Trump Tower in Manhattan in 2005, during which she claims that Trump kissed her on the lips without her consent.
Holvey said that it was painful to see Trump elected after she and the other women came forward with their stories, but added that the new national spotlight on issues of workplace sexual misconduct has encouraged her to “try round two.”
“We’re private citizens, and for us to put ourselves out there to try and show America who this man is and especially how he views women, and for them to say ‘meh, we don’t care,’ it hurts,” Holvey said. “And so now it’s just like alright, let’s try round two. The environment’s different. Let’s try again.”
Trump flatly denied all of the allegations when they were made public during the 2016 presidential election, calling the women liars and claiming to be the “victim” of a “political smear campaign” led by then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her supporters.
When pressed on the issue during White House briefings in recent weeks, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has maintained that Trump’s accusers are lying.
But over the weekend, several Democratic lawmakers called on Trump to resign over the allegations and Nikki Haley, Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the president’s accusers “should be heard.”
Trump could be forced to testify in court regarding the sexual misconduct allegations as part of a defamation lawsuit filed by Summer Zervos, one of his accusers, if the case is not dismissed.
This comes as Trump and the Republican party has thrown its support behind Senate candidate Roy Moore, an Alabama Republican who has been accused by multiple women of romantically pursuing, and in some cases molesting, them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s.
Hayley Peterson contributed to this report.
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