Since the release of a tape Friday that caught Donald Trump bragging about kissing and groping women to “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush in 2005, Trump and his supporters have defended his behavior as “locker room talk” — just words, not actions. At Sunday night’s presidential debate, when moderator Anderson Cooper asked the Republican nominee whether he had ever acted in that way, Trump answered after a preamble, “No, I have not.”
But several women went on the record yesterday in The New York Times, People, and The Palm Beach Post to tell stories about when Trump did act in that way. These women are not the first to accuse Trump, 70, of inappropriate sexual advances, and these new accusations could illustrate a long pattern of behavior.
All the women in these reports say they were motivated to come forward by Trump’s denial at the debate on Sunday. In response to the allegations, Trump told Megan Twohey, a reporter for the Times, that she was “a disgusting human being.”
The Republican’s lawyers also sent a letter to the Times demanding a retraction for the “libelous article” and said that “failure to do so will leave my client with no option but to pursue all available actions and remedies.” It is at least the 12th time during his presidential campaign that Trump has threatened a lawsuit against a news organization or a journalist.
“He was like an octopus … His hands were everywhere.”
Jessica Leeds told the Times that while sitting next to each other on a flight more than 30 years ago, Trump tried to run his hand up her skirt and fondle her breasts. She said she never reported it because such uninvited advances were common in business at the time. “We accepted it for years,” she told the Times. “We were taught it was our fault.”
“You know we’re going to have an affair, don’t you?”
Writer and journalist Natasha Stoynoff published an account Wednesday night of the time Trump “physically attacked” her. She was writing a story for People about Trump’s first wedding anniversary with his wife Melania (who was pregnant at the time) and flew down to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida to interview the pair. Stoynoff claims Trump was giving her a tour of the mansion and led her into a room. “Trump shut the door behind us,” she wrote. “I turned around, and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat.”
“Donald just grabbed my ass!”
Mindy McGillivray told The Palm Beach Post on Wednesday that when she was 23 and assisting a society photographer at a Mar-a-Lago event, Trump sidled up behind her and grabbed her butt. “It was pretty close to the center of my butt,” she explained. “I was startled. I jumped.”
“He thought I was so insignificant that he could do that.”
One morning in 2005, Rachel Crooks says she met Trump while waiting outside one of the elevators in Trump Tower. Then a 22-year-old receptionist working at a real estate firm in the eponymous skyscraper, Crooks told the Times that she introduced herself to Trump and shook his hand. He would not let go. She says he started kissing her on the cheek and then he “kissed me directly on the mouth.”
Follow Alex Thompson on Twitter at @AlxThomp.