Republican nominee Donald Trump is facing serious allegations following his lewd comments toward women leaked last week.
In a leaked video, Trump told Billy Bush, “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
During Sunday s presidential debate, moderator Anderson Cooper confronted Trump about his encounters with women, asking, "Just for the record, are you saying… that you did not actually kiss women without consent?” Trump responded, “I have not.”
Earlier this morning, “Days of Our Lives” actress Arianne Zucker — the woman Trump and Bush were about to meet when Trump made his remarks — told “Today” about being part of the controversial scandal, “It feels very surreal to be in it. I’m not quite sure to believe it yet.” When asked if she accepted his apology after the leak, she responded, “That was an interesting apology."
Since the leak, several women — including People magazine writer Natasha Stoynoff, Jessica Leeds, Rachel Crooks, and Temple Taggart McDowell — have come forward with their own encounters with Trump, who they said violated them.
Leeds accused Trump of groping her in the first-class cabin on a flight in the 1980s. She told the New York Times, "It was a real shock when all of a sudden his hands were all over me. He started encroaching on my space and I hesitate to use this expression but I’m going to, and that is, he was like an octopus. It was like he had six arms — he was all over the place.” Watch!
She added, "If he had stuck with the upper part of my body, I might not have gotten — I might not have gotten — that upset, but it was when he started putting his hand up my skirt. And that was it. That was it.”
In addition to demanding the New York Times retract their story, Trump fired back at Leeds’ claims, tweeting, "The phony story in the failing @nytimes is a TOTAL FABRICATION. Written by same people as last discredited story on women. WATCH!”
In response to the retraction request, New York Times' VP and Assistant General Counsel David McCraw wrote to Trump's lawyer Marc Kasowitz, "You ask that we 'remove it from [our] website, and issue a full and immediate retraction and apology.' We decline to do so."
He went on, "Nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr. Trump, thorugh his own words and actions, has already created for himself... The woman quoted in our story spoke out on an issue of national importance - indeed, an issue that Mr. Trump himself discussed with the whole nation watching during Sunday night's presidential debate. Our reporters diligently worked to confirm he women's accounts." Read the rest of the letter below!
Trump also responded to Stoynoff’s story about their meeting at his Florida estate Mar-a-Lago in 2005, just months after he made his vulgar comments with Bush.
Stoynoff accused him of “pushing me against a wall and forcing his tongue down my throat” before she started interviewing him for a story on his first anniversary with Melania for People magazine. He tweeted, "Why didn't the writer of the twelve year old article in People Magazine mention the ‘incident' in her story. Because it did not happen!”
One-time Trump Tower receptionist Rachel Crooks and former Miss Utah USA Temple Taggart McDowell have also accused Trump of kissing them without their consent.
In 1997, McDowell, who was 21 at the time, met Trump at the Miss USA pageant. She told NBC News, "It was at that time that he turned to me and embraced me and gave me a kiss on the lips.” When Trump was asked about McDowell’s accusation, he told NBCNews, "I don't even know who she is. She claims this took place in a public area. I never kissed her. I emphatically deny this ridiculous claim."
As for Crooks, she revealed she was kissed on the mouth by Trump in 2005, telling the New York Times, “It was so inappropriate. I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that.”