Trump: Sexual-assault accusers 'want to
stop our movement'
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[October 15, 2016]
By Steve Holland and Dan Whitcomb
CHARLOTTE, N.C./LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump on Friday charged
that the women accusing him of sexual misconduct fabricated their
stories to damage his campaign after two more women came forward with
allegations that he had groped them.
The new accusations were made by a contestant on his reality TV show
"The Apprentice," who cited a 2007 incident, and by a woman who
described an incident from the early 1990s.
With the allegations against Trump dominating the campaign, opinion
polls show Trump trailing Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. A
Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll taken Oct. 7-13 and released on Friday showed
Trump behind Clinton by 7 percentage points among likely voters in the
Nov. 8 election.
Trump has spent more and more time at his rallies denying allegations of
groping since a video from 2005 became public a week ago showing him
bragging about groping and making unwanted sexual advances. On Friday,
in addition to his denials, he suggested that he never would have found
two of the women who have made allegations attractive.
Summer Zervos, who competed on the fifth season of "The Apprentice" in
2006, appeared at a news conference with celebrity attorney Gloria
Allred in Los Angeles, saying Trump kissed her, touched her breast and
tried to get her to lie down on a bed with him during a meeting about a
"He put me in an embrace and I tried to push him away. I pushed his
chest to put space between us and I said, 'Come on man, get real.' He
repeated my words back to me, 'Get real,' as he began thrusting his
genitals," Zervos said.
Zervos said she thought Trump was going to take her to dinner to discuss
a job, but the meeting took place in his bungalow at the Beverly Hills
"I wondered if the sexual behavior was some kind of test and whether or
not I had passed" by rejecting it, she said, but Trump later offered her
a job at a golf course for half the salary she had requested.
Trump released a statement denying her allegations.
"I vaguely remember Ms. Zervos as one of the many contestants on 'The
Apprentice' over the years. To be clear, I never met her at a hotel or
greeted her inappropriately a decade ago," Trump said. "That is not who
I am as a person, and it is not how I've conducted my life."
At his last event of the day on Friday, in Charlotte, Trump suggested
that his accusers were fabricating their stories for publicity or to
damage his campaign. "It's not hard to find a small handful of people
willing to make false smears," he said.
Trump said the women may be motivated for financial reasons or political
reasons or "the simple reason they want to stop our movement."
Earlier Friday, the Washington Post published an interview with a woman
who said Trump put his hand up her skirt in a crowded New York nightclub
in the early 1990s in an unwanted advance.
"He did touch my vagina through my underwear, absolutely," Kristin
Anderson said in a video interview on the newspaper's website. "It
wasn't a sexual come-on. I don't know why he did it. It was like just to
prove that he could do it," she told the newspaper. Anderson could not
be reached for comment.
Trump's White House campaign has been scrambling to recover from the
release a week ago of the 2005 video. While Trump said the video was
just talk and he had never behaved in that way, several women
subsequently went public with allegations of sexual misconduct against
the New York real estate magnate going back three decades.
National opinion polls have shown that women voters have been fleeing
Trump in large numbers, putting his campaign in free-fall.
CAMPAIGN PROVIDES WITNESS
Late on Friday, the Trump campaign put forward a British man who
disputed the account of one of the accusers, Jessica Leeds.
Leeds, who is now 74, said Trump groped her on a flight to New York, in
or around 1980. Her account was published in The New York Times earlier
this week and she has since been interviewed on CNN.
The New York Post reported that the man, Anthony Gilberthorpe, contacted
the Trump campaign after Leeds went public with her story, and said he
was sitting near Leeds and Trump in first class on the same flight.
[to top of second column]
Summer Zervos, a former contestant on the TV show The Apprentice, is
embraced by lawyer Gloria Allred (L) while speaking about
allegations of sexual misconduct against Donald Trump during a news
conference in Los Angeles, California, October 14, 2016.
"I was there, I was in a position to know that what she said was
wrong, wrong, wrong," said Gilberthorpe, who is now 54 and would
have been a teenager at the time.
Trump had been promising that he would soon provide information
showing the allegations against him were false.
Gilberthorpe is known in Britain for his claims that he provided
underage boys to British politicians for sex parties in the 1980s.
Trump, 70, mocked Leeds on Friday. "Believe me, she would not be my
first choice, that I can tell you," he said.
He called Natasha Stoynoff, a reporter who wrote in People magazine
that Trump kissed her and pinned her against a wall, a "liar" and
told the rally to "check out her Facebook page, you'll understand."
"TAKE THE HIGH GROUND"
Many Republicans have sought to distance themselves from Trump. The
most senior of them, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan,
angered Trump when he announced this week he would no longer
campaign for Trump or defend him but would focus on trying to
preserve the Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate
in the election.
Ryan gave a campaign speech in Madison, Wisconsin, on Friday without
mentioning Trump's name once. He urged college students to look
beyond the "ugliness" of the presidential campaign to focus on
issues such as tax and healthcare reform.
"The kind of election we really want to have, it's not the one we're
necessarily having right now," Ryan said, urging students to "take
the high ground."
Trump on Friday also accused Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, the
top shareholder in The New York Times Company, of helping to
generate the reports of sexual misconduct.
He said Slim, as a donor to the Clinton Foundation charity and who
holds a 17.35 percent stake in the Times, has an interest in helping
Clinton's White House campaign.
Arturo Elias, Slim's spokesman and son-in-law, said Slim had
"absolutely no contact" with the newspaper's reporters or editors on
their Trump campaign coverage and "zero" contact with the paper's
New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said in a statement,
"Carlos Slim is an excellent shareholder who fully respects
boundaries regarding the independence of our journalism. He has
never sought to influence what we report."
Trump's allegation about Slim was the latest chapter in a running
series of skirmishes he has had with Mexico and Mexicans.
Trump kicked off his campaign last year accusing Mexico of sending
rapists and drug dealers to the United States, and promised to build
a wall along the southern U.S. border and said he would make Mexico
(Additional reporting by Emily Stephenson, Doina Chiacu, Susan
Cornwell, Michael O'Boyle, Anna Driver, Jessica Toonkel, Jeff Mason,
Timothy Gardner; Writing by James Oliphant, Roberta Rampton, and
Doina Chiacu; Editing by Howard Goller and Leslie Adler)
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