Two women alleged in a story published on Wednesday that Donald Trump made unwanted sexual advances on them.
The allegations, made by Jessica Leeds and Rachel Crooks in a New York Times story, came just days after a 2005 tape leaked in which Trump boasted about kissing and touching women without their permission.
Leeds told The Times she was on a plane next to Trump, who she had not yet met, in the early 1980s when the real-estate tycoon lifted her armrest and began touching her. She alleged that he grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt.
“He was like an octopus,” she told The Times. “His hands were everywhere. … It was an assault.”
The second woman, Crooks, said her incident occurred in 2005 — the same year as the damning leaked “Access Hollywood” tape was recorded.
Crooks, 22 at the time, said Trump began kissing her on the mouth after holding on to an extended handshake.
“It was so inappropriate,” she told The Times. “I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that.”
Both women had not previously come forward with their stories, but did so after Trump said in Sunday night’s presidential debate that his words from the 2005 leaked tape were “just words” and just “locker room talk.”
Soon after the article was published, Trump’s campaign discredited the entire report as “fiction.”
“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,” Trump’s senior communications adviser Jason Miller said. “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.”
He called it “a sad day for the Times.”
“It is absurd to think that one of the most recognizable business leaders on the planet with a strong record of empowering women in his companies would do the things alleged in this story, and for this to only become public decades later in the final month of a campaign for president should say it all,” Miller wrote.