Man Accused of Groping Woman on Flight Said Trump 'Says It's OK'

So much for Trump's 'Access Hollywood' tape being a harmless bit of "locker room banter."

|
Oct 23 2018, 3:08pm

Photo of Trump by by Spencer Platt/Getty Images; plane photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

Over the weekend, the FBI arrested a man for allegedly groping a woman during a flight from Houston to Albuquerque, who apparently tried to defend what he'd been accused of by telling the agents that Trump "says it's OK."

Partway through the Southwest Airlines flight on Sunday, 49-year-old Bruce Alexander allegedly reached out to the woman seated in front of him and touched her around her "bra line," according to a criminal complaint. The woman figured it might have been an accident—but 30 minutes later, she said she felt a hand with "thick fingers" and "dirty fingernails" "slowly grab the back of her arm," then "'attentively' grope her right side, again at and around her ribs and 'bra line.'"

She reportedly wheeled around in her seat, told the guy to stop, and had a flight attendant move her to a different part of the plane. Meanwhile, the Southwest crew got in touch with law enforcement on the ground to let them know what had been reported—and when the plane touched down in Albuquerque, the FBI was waiting for Alexander, who was arrested and taken from the airport into custody.

"Later in the vehicle, Alexander stated that the President of the United States says it's OK to grab women by their private parts," Special Agent Michael Hopkins wrote in his report.

Trump dismissed the footage of him telling Access Hollywood host Billy Bush that "you can do anything" to women, including grabbing them "by the pussy," "when you're a star" as just "locker room banter." But in this case, Trump's words were apparently enough to enable someone to— at the very least—defend grabbing a woman without her consent. In other words: Trump says it's fine, so it must be allowed.

Unlike Trump, who's managed to avoid any criminal charges despite being accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, Alexander was slapped with one count of abusive sexual contact, which could land him with up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine if he's convicted. He's just the latest alleged in-flight groper to get nabbed by the FBI—with sexual assault on airplanes on the rise "at an alarming rate."

Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.

Follow Drew Schwartz on Twitter.