Three women accused Donald Trump of making unwanted sexual advances on them in reports published Wednesday. The accusations came days after a salacious leaked tape showed Trump bragging in 2005 about groping women under his celebrity status.
The allegations, made by Jessica Leeds and Rachel Crooks in The New York Times and Mindy McGillivray in The Palm Beach Post, came after Trump denied ever making unwanted advances when asked during Sunday’s presidential debate.
Leeds told The Times she was on a plane next to Trump, who she had not yet met, in the early 1980s when the real-estate tycoon lifted her armrest and began touching her. She alleged that he grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt.
“He was like an octopus,” she told The Times. “His hands were everywhere. … It was an assault.”
Leeds said she fled to the back of the plane, but never made a formal complaint. Instead she spoke with four individuals who The Times also interviewed to corroborate the claims.
The second woman, Crooks, said her incident occurred in 2005 — the same year as the damning leaked “Access Hollywood” tape was recorded.
Crooks, 22 at the time, said Trump began kissing her on the mouth after holding on to an extended handshake.
“It was so inappropriate,” she told The Times. “I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that.”
McGillivray alleged to the Palm Beach Post that Trump grabbed her rear in 2003.
All three women had not previously come forward with their stories, but did so after Trump said in Sunday night’s presidential debate that his words from the 2005 leaked tape were “just words” and “locker room talk.”
“Nobody has more respect for women than I do,” Trump said, later adding that he did not do the things he discussed on the tape.
The Clinton campaign said in a statement late Wednesday that the new revelations suggest Trump “lied on the debate stage.”
“This disturbing story sadly fits everything we know about the way Donald Trump has treated women,” Clinton campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri said. “These reports suggest that he lied on the debate stage and that the disgusting behaviour he bragged about in the tape are more than just words.”
In the 2005 tape, in which Trump was talking to NBC’s Billy Bush aboard an “Access Hollywood” tour bus, Trump bragged about being able to “grab” women “by the p—y” because “when you’re a star they let you do it.”
The tape, which was published on Friday, was recorded after Trump had married his third wife, Melania, according to the publication.
Trump is also heard making a litany of crude sexual remarks about women in the tape.
Responding to the Times story, Trump insisted the stories were false.
“None of this ever took place,” he told the Times, threatening to sue the newspaper.
“You are a disgusting human being,” he added to the reporter.
He repeated his assertion that he never groped women as he described in the tape.
“I don’t do it,” Trump said. “I don’t do it. It was locker room talk.”
Soon after the article was published, Trump’s campaign discredited the entire report as “fiction.”
“This entire article is fiction, and for the New York Times to launch a completely false, coordinated character assassination against Mr. Trump on a topic like this is dangerous,” Trump’s senior communications adviser Jason Miller said. “To reach back decades in an attempt to smear Mr. Trump trivialises sexual assault, and it sets a new low for where the media is willing to go in its efforts to determine this election.”
He called it “a sad day for the Times.”
“It is absurd to think that one of the most recognisable business leaders on the planet with a strong record of empowering women in his companies would do the things alleged in this story, and for this to only become public decades later in the final month of a campaign for president should say it all,” Miller wrote.
Trump and his campaign have not yet responded to the Palm Beach Post story.
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