Multiple women claim Trump groped them as
campaign crisis deepens
Send a link to a friend
[October 13, 2016]
By Roberta Rampton and Emily Flitter
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two women accused
Donald Trump of inappropriate touching in a story published on Wednesday
by the New York Times, claims his spokesman called "fiction" but which
may further damage the Republican presidential nominee's chances of
winning the White House just four weeks before the Nov. 8 election.
The report was followed by a stream of similar allegations from other
women, putting more pressure on the Trump campaign as it lags in
national opinion polls and struggles to contain a crisis caused by the
candidate's comments about groping women without their consent which
surfaced on Friday.
One of the women, Jessica Leeds, appeared on camera on the New York
Times' website to recount how Trump grabbed her breasts and tried to put
his hand up her skirt on a flight to New York in or around 1980.
The second woman, Rachel Crooks, described how Trump "kissed me directly
on the mouth" in 2005 outside the elevator in Trump Tower in Manhattan,
where she was a receptionist at a real estate firm.
Trump's campaign denied there was any truth to the New York Times
accounts. It made public a letter to the newspaper from Marc Kasowitz, a
lawyer representing Trump, demanding it retract the story, calling it
"libelous," and threatening legal action if it did not comply.
"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," the Trump campaign's senior
communications adviser Jason Miller said in a statement.
Reuters could not independently verify the incidents. Leeds and Crooks
did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Reuters.
"We stand by the story, which falls clearly into the realm of public
service journalism," a New York Times spokeswoman said.
The report comes just two days after a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll showed
one in five Republicans thought Trump's comments about groping women
disqualified him from the presidency, and put him 8 points behind
Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton among likely voters.
MORE ACCOUNTS SURFACE
Within hours, several other media outlets published similar reports.
People magazine published a detailed first-person account from one of
its reporters, Natasha Stoynoff.
Stoynoff said Trump pinned her against a wall at his Florida estate in
2005 and kissed her as she struggled to get away.
"I turned around, and within seconds, he was pushing me against the
wall, and forcing his tongue down my throat," Stoynoff said.
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment
on the People story late on Wednesday. The article included a denial
from a Trump spokeswoman who called the story a "politically motivated
Around the same time, the Palm Beach Post reported a claim by Mindy
McGillivray, 36, a woman in South Florida, that Trump had grabbed her
bottom 13 years ago while she was working at his Mar a Lago estate as a
"There is no truth to this whatsoever," Trump's spokeswoman Hope Hicks
told the Post. McGillivray could not be reached for comment.
CHASTISED BY SOME REPUBLICANS
The reports come on the heels of a 2005 video that surfaced on Friday
that showed Trump bragging about groping women, kissing them without
permission, and trying to seduce a married woman.
[to top of second column]
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump holds up signs at
the end of a campaign rally in Lakeland, Florida, U.S., October 12,
2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
"I just start kissing them. Itís like a magnet. Just kiss. I donít
even wait," Trump is heard saying on the tape.
Trump said during the second presidential debate on Sunday that he
had not actually done the things he had boasted about, and
apologized for his remarks, which he called private "locker room
The bombshell video has jeopardized Trump's chances of winning on
Election Day, and put Republican control of the U.S. Congress in
He was chastised by Republican leaders, and some called on him to
drop out of the presidential race.
On Wednesday, Trump escalated his attacks on U.S. House of
Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan after Ryan said he was no longer
going to campaign for or defend Trump.
Trump complained to thousands of supporters jammed into a livestock
arena in Ocala, Florida, that Ryan and others had not congratulated
him on his debate performance on Sunday, and the crowd booed in
"There is a whole deal going on and weíre going to figure it out. I
always figure things out. But thereís a whole sinister deal going
on," Trump said.
Trump has largely kept the support of conservative Christians, a key
voting bloc he needs to win the election.
"I take him at his word. I think he's a good man," evangelical
leader Jerry Falwell Jr. told CNN on Wednesday.
Former Republican House Speaker John Boehner said in an interview on
Fox News Channel that he would vote for Trump in spite of being
"disgusted" by his comments, because he wanted to see conservative
justices named to the Supreme Court.
The interview was taped before the New York Times story was
published, but Boehner said he thought it was likely that more
negative stories would emerge in the last month of the campaign.
"What more could be said in this election cycle than has already
been said?" Boehner asked. "It couldn't be any worse, could it?"
A spokeswoman for Clinton said Wednesday's report was "disturbing."
"These reports suggest that he lied on the debate stage and that the
disgusting behavior he bragged about in the tape is more than just
words," said Jennifer Palmieri, a spokeswoman for the Clinton
(Additional reporting by Emily Flitter, Jonathan Allen, Emily
Stephenson, Susan Cornwell, David Morgan, Michelle Conlin, Eric
Beech and Eric Walsh; Editing by Caren Bohan and Bill Rigby)
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.