Donald Trump’s ‘woman problem’ continues to grow
It’s been a rough week for Trump’s supporters, and things don’t seem to be getting any easier.
Following the release of a 2005 Access Hollywood tape where Trump claimed women would “let [him] do anything,” even grab them “by the p*ssy,” multiple women have come forward to claim he is guilty of sexual harassment, along with other offenses.
Four women have come forward with allegations of being sexually harassed and groped by Trump. Three of the women spoke to the New York Times; the first was Jill Harth, a former makeup artist who ran a small business with her boyfriend at the time.
Harth says she and her boyfriend, George Houraney, were business partners with Trump in a deal to allow them to host events in his Atlantic City casinos. However, in their first business meeting in 1992, she claims that he asked Houraney if he was sleeping with her.
In a 1997 sexual harassment lawsuit against Trump by Harth, she claims that he said, “there’s going to be a problem. I’m very attracted to your girlfriend.”
From there, she claimed, “He was relentless,” as he would sit next to her and run his hands up her skirt.
“I didn’t know how to handle it,” Harth told the Times. “I would go away from him and say I have to go to the restroom. It was the escape route.”
He allegedly continued to make sexual advances on her until in 1994 when the business partnership fell apart, and he left without paying what he owed her, she said. Harth made similar allegations in her 1995 breach of contract suit against Trump that resulted in a $100,000 settlement after Harth agreed to drop her sexual harassment lawsuit. However, a federal judge agreed to seal that case.
Since the release of the 2005 tape, two other women have come forward with similar allegations. Jessica Leeds, 74, told the New York Times that when she was 38 years old, she shared a flight with Trump. She was seated in the coach class, but a flight attendant approached her and offered her a seat in first class next to Trump. The two had never met but exchanged pleasantries.
About 45 minutes after the plane took off, she told the Times that he raised their shared armrest, grabbed at her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt. “He was like an octopus,” she said. “His hands were everywhere.”
She went to the back of the plane without complaining. A traveling saleswoman at the time, she told the Times that unwanted advances from men were not uncommon in business during the 1970s and 80s.
“We accepted it for years,” she explained. “We were taught it was our fault.”
Rachel Crooks had a similar experience with Trump in 2005 when she was 22 years old. She worked as a secretary with the Bayrock Group, a real estate firm that was in Trump Towers and did business with Trump. Knowing that the Bayrock Group did business with Trump, she introduced herself to him. When they shook hands, he did not let go but kissed her cheeks and then “kissed me directly on the mouth,” Crooks told the Times.
“It was so inappropriate,” she said. “I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that.”
Her sister, Brianne Webb, corroborated the claim, saying that Crooks called her immediately afterward. “Being from a town of 1,600 people, being naïve, I was like ‘Are you sure he didn’t just miss trying to kiss you on the cheek?’” Webb said.
“No, he kissed me on the mouth,” Crooks responded.
Crooks proceeded to go out of her way to avoid Trump by excusing herself whenever he entered their firm and declined going to events he held for the Bayrock Group.
When the Times approached Trump for comment on the allegations, he categorically denied them shouting “None of this ever took place,” and threatened to sue the paper if they reported any of the claims.
“You are a disgusting human being,” he told the reporter.
Trump's senior communications adviser Jason Miller has responded to the claims, saying, "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 Business Insider reported.
"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."
"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 in a statement.
On Wednesday, Mindy McGillivray told the Palm Beach Post that she was groped by Trump 13 years ago in Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate while she was assisting a photographer.
Ken Davidoff, the photographer and McGillivray’s friend, was the son of a Palm Beach society photographer and had been hired to take pictures of a Ray Charles concert. He had hired McGillivray to keep numbered nameplates of everyone photographed at the concert.
The two decided to go backstage where she ended up standing next to Trump when suddenly, “I felt a grab, a little nudge. I think it’s Ken’s camera bag, that was my first instinct. I turn around and there’s Donald. He sort of looked away quickly,” she told the Palm Beach Post.
McGillivray is confident that it was not an accident, saying “This was a pretty good nudge. More of a grab," and “It was pretty close to the center of my butt. I was startled. I jumped.’’
All of this comes on the heels of internet sleuths finding a 2004 clip of Trump on The Howard Stern Show, where he gave the radio host permission to refer to his then-22-year-old daughter Ivanka as “a piece of ass.”
In 2005, he told Stern that in his role as the owner of the Miss America Beauty Pageant, he would “go backstage before a show and everyone is getting dressed and ready and everything else,” when no men were around. He said that being the owner of the pageant allowed him to inspect the women when “they’re standing there with no clothes,” and he was able to get away with “things like that.”
Natasha Stoynoff of People Magazine published a story Wednesday detailing being groped by Trump. The reporter wrote that she “had a very friendly, professional relationship” with Trump and had even attended his wedding to Melania.
In December 2005, she went to Mar-a-Largo to interview both Trump and Melania for a first wedding anniversary feature story. Melania was pregnant at the time and left Trump and Stoynoff to change her clothes when Trump invited to show Stoynoff around the mansion.
“There was one ‘tremendous’ room in particular, he said, that I just had to see.”
She claims that within seconds of entering the room, he pushed her up against a wall and was “forcing his tongue down my throat.”
The incident was interrupted by his butler who informed them that Melania was ready, and the two went to an outdoor patio where they waited for Melania to join them. While Stoynoff was trying to get her recorder ready, she says, “Trump smiled and leaned forward. ‘You know we’re going to have an affair, don’t you?’”
She wrote that he then said, “’Have you ever been to Peter Luger’s for steaks? I’ll take you. We’re going to have an affair, I’m telling you.’”
Stoynoff says that she did not go to her supervisors to kill the story after the incident, because “like many women, I was ashamed and blamed myself for his transgression,” and “I was afraid that a famous, powerful, wealthy man could and would discredit and destroy me, especially if I got his coveted PEOPLE feature killed.”
A spokeswoman for Trump told People, “This never happened. There is no merit or veracity to this fabricated story.”
On Tuesday, former Miss Arizona Tasha Dixon told KCBS that he would come into their dressing rooms without any warning. “Our first introduction to him was when we were at the dress rehearsal and half naked changing into our bikinis,” she said.
“He just came strolling right in. There was no second to put a robe on or any sort of clothing or anything. Some girls were topless. Other girls were naked.”
She also claimed that “people who worked for him” encouraged the girls to “fawn all over him” and get his attention. As to why she and other pageant contestants stayed silent, she explained “Who do you complain to? He owns the pageant. There’s no one to complain to. Everyone there works for him.”
Trump’s campaign spokesperson has denied the claim, saying in a statement, “These accusations have no merit and have already been disproven by many other individuals who were present.”
“When you see questionable attacks like this magically put out there in the final month of a presidential campaign, you have to ask yourself what the political motivations really are and why the media is pushing it.”
KCBS contacted other former contestants, but only former Miss California Carrie Prejean Boller released a statement. She defended Trump, saying, “To paint Mr. Trump as someone who would purposely walk into a women’s dressing room and ask women to come impress him is the most disgusting accusation so far. Mr. Trump has empowered me as a woman, has given me career opportunities and defended me during my reign as Miss California USA.”
Prejean is known for being eliminated from the contest in 2009 after saying that she believed marriage was meant to between a man and woman.
On Wednesday, CBS released footage from an Entertainment Tonight Christmas feature filmed in Trump Tower in 1992. In the tape, Trump can be heard asking a girl “You going up the escalator?”
“Yeah,” a female voice replies.
“I’m going to be dating her in ten years. Can you believe it?” He responded.
Neither Trump nor the girl in question are visible, as the footage only shows the escalator. However, CBS claims that Trump was talking to a group of young girls. Trump would have been a 46-year-old at the time the tape was recorded.