By Bonnie K. Goodman
Republican nominee Donald Trump’s campaign is crumbling over allegations that he groped four women just days after a video surfaced wherein 2005 he boasted about groping woman ad attempting an affair with a married TV host. On Wednesday, evening Oct. 12, 2016, the New York Times published a story about two women claiming Trump groped them, one occurred in the 1980s the other happened in 2005. On Thursday, Oct. 13, People Magazine published a story by one of their authors; Natasha Stoynoff claimed Trump kissed her in 2005 and the Palm Beach Post published an account as well. Trump is not taking the accusations lightly he has fired back on Twitter at his rally in Florida on Thursday, and his lawyers are threatening a lawsuit.
Speaking at a rally in West Palm Beach, Fla. on Thursday Trump went after his accusers calling their accusations “slander and libel.” The GOP nominee vehemently denied the allegations, “These vicious claims about me of inappropriate conduct with women are totally and absolutely false. And the Clintons know it. And they know it very well. These claims are all fabricated. They’re pure fiction. And they’re outright lies. These events never, ever happened.” Trump said the women’s “claims are preposterous, ludicrous and defy logic.”
The GOP nominee called the accusations, a “concerted, coordinated and vicious attack” arranged by opponent Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign and news media. Trump claims to “substantial evidence” to counter the accusations. Continuing he went after the news media, “These lies come from outlets whose past stories and claims have already been discredited. The media outlets did not attempt to confirm the most basic facts because even a simple investigation would have shown these were nothing more than false smears.”
Trump viciously went after the news media saying they were “in bed” with Clinton and they are her “most powerful weapon” and that reporters are “conspiring directly” with the Clinton camp. The GOP nominee said, “Their agenda is to elect Crooked Hillary Clinton at any cost, any price, no matter how many lives they destroy. For them, it is war.” According to Trump the news media “will attack you and slander you and seek to destroy your career and family and everything about you, including your reputation. They will lie, lie, lie and do worse than that. Whatever is necessary.”
Trump specifically addressed the allegations from both the New York Times and People. As to the NYT story, Trump attacked the fact the article’s two author’s had previously written another article in May about Trump and women had been discredited, with the women quoted saying they were “misquoted” and misinterpreted. Trump said, “The same two discredited reporters who should have been fired tell another fabricated and false story that supposedly took place. Another ridiculous tale.”
In the New York Times’ piece, two women came forward, claiming inappropriate behavior. One woman Jessica Leeds, 74 was 38 in 1980 when Trump supposedly groped her on a first class flight, saying he lifted the armrest and proceeding to grop her breasts and put his hand up her skirt. Leeds recounted, “He was like an octopus … his hands were everywhere. It was an assault.”
While Rachel Crooks was 22 in 2005 when she worked as a receptionist at Bayrock Group, a real estate company in Trump Tower in New York and during introductions in front of an elevator Trump kissed on the mouth. Crooks told the NYT, “It was so inappropriate. I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that.” The women say they prompted to come forward after Trump denied during the second presidential debate that he ever acted on his lewd comments from a 2005 tape to Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush.
Then Trump went after People magazine’s story, where writer Natasha Stoynoff claimed during a break from December 2005 interview with Trump and Melania at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, the GOP nominee forced her against a wall and kissed her. At the time, Melania was pregnant. Trump questioned the story and its timing; commented Stoynoff said nothing in 2005 and wrote a “glowing piece about his marriage.” Trump rhetorically asked, “Why wasn’t it part of the story that appeared 12 years ago? Why didn’t they make it part of the story?..It would have been one of the biggest stories of the years.” Responding to his question, Trump said, “It would have been the headline. These are horrible people, horrible liars, and it happens to appear 26 days before our very important election.”
Both Trump and his wife, Melania are threatening to sue over the stories but for different reasons. Trump’s lawyer Marc E. Kasowitz is demanding a “full and immediate retraction and apology” from the New York Times. Kasowitz wrote a demand letter to Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The New York Times, saying, “Your article is reckless, defamatory and constitutes libel per se. It is apparent from, among other things, the timing of the article, that it is nothing more than a politically-motivated effort to defeat Mr. Trump’s candidacy.”
Initially Trump spokesman Jason Miller responded with a statement denying the allegations. Miller wrote, “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.” Another Trump spokesperson commented to People, “This never happened. There is no merit or veracity to this fabricated story.”
Trump also responded with a Tweet on Thursday morning to the NYT story, “The phoney story in the failing @nytimes is a TOTAL FABRICATION. Written by same people as last discredited story on woman. WATCH!” Later responding to the People story, Trump 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!”
The Clinton campaign is having a field day with the lewd tape and then the accusations, despite former President Bill Clinton’s sex scandals and particularly his impeachment in 1998 after perjury over his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Democrats including Vice President Joe Biden are defending Clinton’s actions as opposed to Trump’s saying the former president paid for his actions by being impeached. Biden said, “He paid a price. He was impeached.”
Clinton’s campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri released a statement condemning Trump. Palmieri wrote, “This disturbing story sadly fits everything we know about the way Donald Trump has treated women. 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.”
On Thursday, First Lady Michelle Obama gave a rousing speech in Manchester, N.H. opposing Trump and his behavior. In her speech, Obama said, “This is not normal, this is not politics as usual. This is disgraceful, it is intolerable. We simply cannot endure this or expose our children to this any longer. Now is the time for us all of us to stand up and say, ‘enough is enough.’ This has got to stop right now.”