Multiple women have come forward to accuse US presidential candidate Donald Trump of sexual assault and inappropriate behaviour.
“Locker room banter”
The claims follow video footage that has emerged in which Mr Trump claims that he can grab women’s genitals with freedom. In the 2005 instalment of Access Hollywood that was leaked to the Washington Post, Mr Trump can be seen laughing with host Billy Bush about how being famous allowed him to kiss and grope women without their consent.
Mr Trump dismissed the comments as being “locker-room banter” and during Sunday’s debate with Hillary Clinton he insisted that he had not actually done any of the things he discussed.
So far, the list of allegations made against Trump includes:
• An incident in which Mr Trump appears to be sexualising a ten year old girl.
• Two women who claim that Mr Trump groped or kissed them without consent, one on a first class flight.
• A People magazine reporter who claims that Mr Trump forced himself on her in 2005.
• A woman who has alleged that Trump groped her at an event at his Mar-A-Lago estate in Florida.
• Two Miss USA contestants who claimed that Mr Trump knowingly walked in on them as they were naked in a dressing room.
The encounter regarding the 10 year old girl was brought to light in video footage of a 1992 Entertainment Tonight Christmas special in which Mr Trump appeared, he was 46 at the time.
The show was filmed at Trump Tower and in the video Mr Trump asks the young if she is going up the escalator. When she tells him she is, he turns to the camera and says:
“I’m going to be dating her in 10 years. Can you believe it?”
New York Times
This week, the New York Times (NYT) published the stories of two women, both who claim that Mr Trump touched them inappropriately.
74 year old Jessica Leeds said that over thirty years ago, she sat next to Mr Trump in the first-class cabin of a New York-bound flight. According to Jessica, who had not met Mr Trump prior to this encounter, 45 minutes after take-off Trump lifted the arm rest, grabbed her breasts and attempted to put his hand up her skirt. She told the NYT that “he was like an octopus. His hands were everywhere.”
The newspaper also told the story of Rachel Crooks. Rachel claims that when she was 22 and a receptionist at a real estate investment and development company located in Trump Tower, she said hello to Mr Trump while they were in an elevator together.
According to Rachel, they shook hands, but instead of letting go, Mr Trump began to kiss her on her cheek and then on her mouth. She told the NYT:
“I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that.”
Claims also emerged this week from a reporter for People Magazine, Natasha Stoynoff, who alleges that Trump forced himself on her in 2005. She wrote:
“He was pushing me against the wall, and forcing his tongue down my throat.”
She claims that Trump later told her:
“You know we’re going to have an affair, don’t you?”
A similar story was published by the Palm Beach Post, in which it is alleged that Mr Trump groped Mindy McGillivray in 2003 at his Mar-a-Lago estate, in Palm Beach, Florida.
A former Miss USA contestant claims that in 2001, Donald Trump deliberately walked in on her and another contestant while they were naked and getting dressed for a rehearsal. The woman, who has asked to stay anonymous, alleges that just before he entered, she heard security outside the dressing room warn someone approaching the door that the women inside were naked. She said that Trump’s attitude, she said, seemed to be: “I can do this because I can.” Adding:
“Mr Trump just barged right in, didn’t say anything, stood there and stared at us.”
“He didn’t walk in and say, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry, I was looking for someone,’”
“He walked in, he stood and he stared. He was doing it because he knew that he could.”
A second Miss USA contestant from the 2001 competition has also come forward to accuse Mr Trump of inappropriate behaviour in a separate incident. Tasha Dixon, the former Miss Arizona, recalled an incident in which Trump came “waltzing in” to a room while numerous contestants were half naked or in a state of undress.
According to Dixon, many of the contestants’ very first encounter with Mr Trump would occur while they were naked.
“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.
“We were naked or half naked in a very physically vulnerable position,”
“And then to have the pressure of the people that worked for him telling us to go fawn all over him, go walk up to him, talk to him, get his attention.”
The unnamed contestant added that she did not report Mr Trump’s behaviour at the time, as her position was ’too tenuous’.
“This was my boss. I’m there to represent my state, my town, my reputation on one of the most prestigious stages on the planet,”
“I had not a lot of experience under my belt. And it was horrifying … It was extremely uncomfortable from there forward.”
She also said that until she saw Miss Dixon’s interview, she did not know that this could have happened to other contestants.
“It’s important for people to know that this has been a personality trait of his for a long time,”
“He completely exerted his power and the control that he had … And I do believe that kind of behavior perpetuates rape culture and makes young boys think they can behave that way.”
“I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant”
Trump has previously boasted during a 2005 segment of the Howard Stern show, about being able to view beauty contestants naked. In a tape obtained by CNN, Mr Trump said:
“I’ll go backstage before a show, and everyone’s getting dressed and ready and everything else,”
“And you know, no men are anywhere. And I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant. And therefore I’m inspecting it. ‘Is everyone OK?’ You know, they’re standing there with no clothes. And you see these incredible-looking women. And so I sort of get away with things like that.”
It has also been reported that that several teen beauty queens from the 1997 Miss Teen USA claim that Trump entered a shared dressing room while several of them were naked. One girl was just 15 years old at the time.
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Source: The Guardian