Donald Trump sexual assault claims rock campaign

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Anna Pollitt
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Donald Trump's presidential campaign has been hit by new claims of inappropriate sexual behaviour to women and girls.

The New York Times published an article on Wednesday in which two women accuse the Republican candidate of forcibly groping or kissing them, while footage has been released of the businessman making inappropriate remarks about a girl  believed to be around 10 years old.

Jessica Leeds, tells the paper how Trump grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt during a flight to New York in the 1980s. Another alleged victim, Rachel Crooks, describes how the businessman "kissed me directly on the mouth" when she was introduced to him outside a lift in Trump Tower in Manhattan in 2005.

Trump's spokesman Jason Miller called the accounts "fiction" and the 70-year-old's lawyer has threatened to sue the newspaper if it does not retract the story.

"We stand by the story, which falls clearly into the realm of public service journalism," a New York Times spokeswoman told Reuters.

The allegations come amid a slew of claims of the Republican candidate's inappropriate behaviour from multiple sources, and the release of footage of a 46-year-old Trump speaking to a child, before telling the camera "I’m going to be dating her in 10 years." 

Last week a tape was leaked of Trump in which he was heard boasting in 2005 of how his fame allowed him to "grab women by the pussy". He apologised but dismissed the claims as "locker room banter" during Sunday's presidential debate with Democrat rival Hillary Clinton.

Allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour against Donald Trump:

  • New York Times allegations:

​Jessica Leeds told the paper she was seated next to Trump during a first class flight to New York in the '80s: "It was a real shock when all of a sudden his hands were all over me. He started encroaching on my space and I hesitate to use this expression but he was like an octopus, it was like he had six arms, he was all over the place.

"If he had stuck with the upper part of my body, I might not have gotten that upset but it was when he started putting his hand up my skirt. That was it." Leeds says that although she told people about the incident she did not report it officially because such behaviour was commonplace at the time, "We accepted it for years. We were taught it was our fault," she says.

Rachel Crooks told the paper she was a 22-year-old receptionist when she met Trump in one of his buildings in 2005. After introducing herself to him, she says he wouldn't let go of her hand, began kissing her cheeks, then he “kissed me directly on the mouth.”

“I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that,” she says.

  • The young girl

In a 1992 Christmas special for Entertainment Tonight given to CBS News, Donald Trump is heard speaking to a group of children who are reportedly around 10 years old, before asking one girl if she is going up the escalator. When she tells him she is, he tells the camera: "I am going to be dating her in 10 years."

  • Beauty pageant contestants

Trump owned the Miss Universe pageants for nearly 20 years and in 2005 he told the Howard Stern Show: "I'll go backstage before a show, and everyone's getting dressed and ready and everything else," he said.

"You know, no men are anywhere," he continues. "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."

Several beauty pageant contestants have accused Trump of such inappropriate behaviour.

- Former Miss Utah Temple Taggart told the New York Times earlier this year that Trump kissed her on the lips when they were introduced at the 1997 Miss USA pageant. 

- Cassandra Searles, Miss Washington 2013, accused Trump of "continually" grabbing her bum at the pageant, Yahoo News reported.

-Tasha Dixon, Miss Arizona in 2001, told TV station CBC 2 Los Angeles that Trump came “waltzing in” while contestants were changing.

- Mariah Billado, Miss Teen Vermont 1997, this week told BuzzFeed that Trump walked in on her and other girls as young as 15 when they were changing. Three other teen contestants confirmed this.

-A former Miss USA contestant has told The Guardian that Trump deliberately walked in on her and another woman when they were naked, ahead of the 2001 Miss Universe pageant. Trump walked into the room while the women were changing after being warned by a security guard that they were getting changed and "stood and stared", the unnamed woman told the newspaper. 

  • The People journalist

A writer for the famous entertainment magazine who interviewed Trump and his wife at their Florida estate in 2005 has accused Trump of pinning her against the wall and forcibly kissing her while a-then heavily pregnant Melania was getting changed.

"Now, I’m a tall, strapping girl who grew up wrestling two giant brothers," she writes. "I even once sparred with Mike Tyson. It takes a lot to push me. But Trump is much bigger - a looming figure - and he was fast, taking me by surprise and throwing me off balance. I was stunned. And I was grateful when Trump’s longtime butler burst into the room a minute later, as I tried to unpin myself."

  • Jokes about dating his daughter

"I've said if Ivanka weren't my daughter, perhaps I'd be dating her." - Donald Trump

That comment was made on daytime TV show The View, while in a separate interview with shock jock Howard Stern, Trump agreed that the DJ could describe Ivanka as "a piece of ass."

  • Florida groping claim

Mindy McGillivray, 36, claims Trump grabbed her bum 13 years ago at an event where she was working as a photographer's assistant, the Palm Beach Post reports.

"It was pretty close to the centre of my butt," she says. "I was startled. I jumped." Photographer Ken Davidoff told the paper he "vividly" remembers McGillivray pulling him aside to tell him: "Donald just grabbed my ass." McGillivray says she was prompted to come forward after watching Trump deny that his boasts of groping women in the leaked hot mic tape were true during Sunday's presidential debate.

  • The Apprentice contestant

​Jennifer Murphy, a former contestant on Trump's TV show The Apprentice, has claimed in Grazia that Trump kissed her on the lips after a job interview in 2005 - the same year he boasted of his treatment of women: "I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss."

"He walked me to the elevator, and I said goodbye, Murphy, 37, says. "I was thinking ‘oh, he’s going to hug me’, but when he pulled my face in and gave me a smooch."


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Anna Pollitt

Anna is a freelance writer and editor who’s been making her dime from online since 2007. She’s a regular at, ITV News and Emerald Street and moonlights as a copywriter and digital content consultant.