Four Women Including A Former Miss Utah USA Accuse Trump of Inappropriately Touching Them Years Apart: Reports
|In May 2016, Temple Taggart McDowell, who represented Utah, told The New York Times|
that Trump "kissed me directly on the lips" during the 1997 pageant.
Four women accused Donald Trump in articles published Wednesday of having touched them in an inappropriate manner, adding to the growing list of women who say Trump has insensitively treated them as objects over several decades.
The New York Times quoted two women as describing public encounters during which Trump grabbed or kissed them inappropriately.
Separately, the Palm Beach Post quoted a Palm Springs, Florida, woman as saying Trump groped her 13 years ago at Mar-a-Lago, his estate in Palm Beach.
And a People magazine staff writer reported Wednesday that at Mar-a-Lago in 2005, Trump pushed her against a wall and was soon "forcing his tongue down my throat."
Meanwhile, five former contestants in the Miss Teen USA pageant were quoted Wednesday as saying Trump deliberately walked into dressing rooms while teenage contestants were naked in 1997 and 2001, when Trump owned the pageant.
Two other women came forward earlier this week to accuse Trump of similar behavior.
The allegations are emerging in the final weeks of an unprecedented presidential campaign during which Trump has been beset by accusations that he has behaved insensitively toward women for much of his adult life.
NBC News has confirmed none of the allegations.
Trump's presidential campaign denied the new accusations. It called The Times article "fiction" Wednesday night and specifically accused the newspaper of "coordinated character assassination" in an attempt to swing the race to his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. A letter sent to the newspaper by Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz called the story "reckless" and "defamatory."
Trump and his campaign have denied that he has ever behaved toward women in a way reflected in an 11-year-old video in which he was recorded bragging about having made sexually inappropriate advances to married women.
"When you're a star, they let you do it," Trump says in the 2005 video, which was recorded by "Access Hollywood" and obtained last week by NBC News and The Washington Post.
In statements and in Sunday night's presidential debate, Trump characterized the remarks as "locker room" banter and said he never actually did what he boasted about.
Here's who has brought accusations against Trump this week:
* The Times quoted Jessica Leeds as saying Trump accosted her as they sat next to each other on a first-class airline flight more than 30 years ago. Trump, she said, lifted the armrest, grabbed her breasts and tried to put a hand up her skirt.
"He was like an octopus. His hands were everywhere," The Times quoted Leeds as saying.
* Rachel Crooks told The Times that in 2005, when she was a receptionist for a company with offices in Trump Tower in New York City, Trump approached her outside an elevator and began kissing her on the cheek and then "directly on the mouth."
"It was so inappropriate," Crooks said, according to The Times. "I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that."
The Times reported that Trump grew agitated when a reporter called him for comment. "None of this ever took place," he shouted, according to the newspaper, which said Trump accused it of making up the allegations to hurt him and threatened to file a lawsuit.
* The Palm Beach Post reported that the 2003 Florida incident occurred during a performance at Mar-a-Lago by musician Ray Charles, when the woman, Mindy McGillivray, said she "felt a grab, a little nudge."
"I turn around and there's Donald. He sort of looked away quickly. I quickly turned back, facing Ray Charles, and I'm stunned," McGillivray said, according to the newspaper.
Asked whether it might have been an accident, she said no, the newspaper reported.
"This was a pretty good nudge. More of a grab," it quoted her as saying. "It was pretty close to the center of my butt. I was startled. I jumped."
* People magazine published an account by staff writer Natasha Stoynoff alleging that at Mar-a-Lago in 2005, when she was on what she called "the Trump beat," Trump shut the door behind her, pushed her against the wall and "forc[ed] his tongue down my throat."
"Now, I'm a tall, strapping girl who grew up wrestling two giant brothers. I even once sparred with Mike Tyson. It takes a lot to push me," Stoynoff wrote. "But Trump is much bigger—a looming figure—and he was fast, taking me by surprise, and throwing me off balance.
"I was stunned," she wrote. "And I was grateful when Trump's longtime butler burst into the room a minute later, as I tried to unpin myself."
A spokesperson for Trump told People: "This never happened. There is no merit or veracity to this fictional story. Why wasn't this reported at the time? Mr. Trump was the biggest star on television and surely this would have been a far bigger scoop for People magazine. She alleges this took place in a public space with people around. This is nothing by politically motivated fictional pile-on."
* The British newspaper The Guardian quoted a Miss USA 2001 contestant who didn't want to be identified as saying Trump deliberately walked into a dressing room during a rehearsal at the pageant while she and another contestant were naked. Unlike the women quoted in the other articles, she did not accuse Trump of having touched anyone.
* BuzzFeed quoted Mariah Billado, who represented Vermont, as saying Trump did the same thing during the 1997 Miss Teen USA pageant. It said three other contestants who asked not to be named verified Billado's account.
BuzzFeed said 11 other contestants didn't recall seeing Trump in the dressing room, with some saying they didn't believe he could have been there.
"These accusations have no merit and have already been disproven by many other individuals who were present," said Jessica Ditto, a spokeswoman for the Trump campaign.
"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," she said
CBS Los Angeles quoted Tasha Dixon, who represented Arizona, as accusing Trump of similar behavior during the 2001 Miss USA pageant.
Trump owned the pageant from 1996 to 2015.
"I'm telling you Donald Trump owned the pageant for the reasons to utilize his power to get around beautiful women," Dixon told the station. "Who do you complain to? He owns the pageant. There's no one to complain to. Everyone there works for him."
Earlier this year
In May, Temple Taggart McDowell, who represented Utah, told The New York Times that Trump "kissed me directly on the lips" during the 1997 pageant.
McDowell confirmed the account in an interview with NBC News on Wednesday night.
"My dad was very confident, and he really admired Donald Trump, and so he went over and introduced himself first, and then he introduced me," McDowell said. "And it was at that time that he turned to me and embraced me and gave me a kiss on the lips.
"And I remember being shocked, because I would have just thought to shake somebody's hand, but that was his first response with me," she said. "I remember feeling kind of embarrassed, like wanting to turn and bite my mouth, like, 'What just happened?'"
In a statement, Trump said: "I don't know anything about her. 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."
Jill Harth Houraney — filed a $125 million lawsuit against Trump alleging that at Mar-a-Lago in 1993, Trump "forcibly removed plaintiff to a bedroom, whereupon defendant subjected plaintiff to defendant's unwanted sexual advances, which included touching of plaintiff's private [parts] in an act constituting attempted 'rape.'"
Harth made the allegation in the midst of a contract dispute between the company for which she worked and Trump.
The suit was later withdrawn, but in an interview with The Guardian in July, Harth — the name she uses now — said: "I had to physically say: 'What are you doing? Stop it.' It was a shocking thing to have him do this ... How could he be doing this when I'm there for business?"
In his unauthorized biography "Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump," former Newsweek reporter Harry Hurt III disclosed a deposition from Trump's 1990 divorce. In it, Ivana Trump alleges that Donald Trump forced her to have sex with him against her will in 1989, which she characterized as "rape."
Donald Trump denied the rape allegation. Ivana Trump confirmed that she used the word in the deposition, but later said: "I do not want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense."
Source: NBCNews.com, 10/13/2016