Two women have accused Donald Trump of inappropriately touching them in yet another October surprise for the Republican just days after being heard making vulgar remarks about women on tape more than a decade ago.
The New York Times last night named the two women who accused Trump of the unwanted advances and were reported to be infuriated after the brash billionaire insisted during Sunday’s debate that he had never actually acted on the claims he made in the video — that he kissed women without permission or grabbed them inappropriately.
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Jessica Leeds, then 38, claimed that while flying first class more than 30 years ago, Trump lifted the armrest and began touching her — grabbing her breasts and trying to put his hand up her skirt, before she fled to the back of the plane, according to the Times.
“He was like an octopus,” she told the paper. “His hands were everywhere. … It was an assault.”
The second woman, Rachel Crooks, then 22 and a receptionist at a real-estate investment company inside Trump Tower in Manhattan, introduced herself to Trump outside an elevator because the two companies did business together, according to the Times. As the two shook hands, she claims Trump didn’t let go and instead kissed her on the cheek, then on the mouth, the Times reported.
“It was so inappropriate,” she told the paper. “I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that.”
The Trump campaign, in a statement released immediately after the story broke, denied the allegations.
“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,” said campaign spokesman Jason Miller. “To reach back decades in an attempt to smear Mr. Trump trivializes sexual assault, and it sets a new low for where the media is willing to go in its efforts to determine this election.”
Miller called it “absurd” that Trump would “do the things alleged in this story” and claimed that for it to become public only after this long “should say it all.”
Leeds and Crooks said they both support Hillary Clinton for president and that Crooks had donated less than $200 to Clinton and President Obama, the paper reported.
The Clinton campaign last night also responded to the Times story saying through Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri: “This disturbing story sadly fits everything we know about the way Donald Trump has treated women. These reports suggest that he lied on the debate stage and that the disgusting behavior he bragged about in the tape are more than just words.”
Meanwhile, on the campaign trail, Trump ramped up his war against House Speaker Paul Ryan, accusing him of orchestrating a “whole sinister deal” against him, as new polls continued to show him sliding against Clinton.
“Wouldn’t you think that Paul Ryan would call and say, ‘Good going,’ ” Trump said at a rally in Florida in reference to his debate performance Sunday night.
“No, he doesn’t do that. There’s a whole deal going on there. … We’re going to figure it out. I always figure things out. But there’s a whole sinister deal going on.”
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