WASHINGTON Oct 13 Two women accused Donald
Trump of inappropriate touching in a story published on
Wednesday by the New York Times, claims his spokesman called
"fiction" but which may further damage the Republican
presidential nominee's chances of winning the White House just
four weeks before the Nov. 8 election.
The report was followed by a stream of similar allegations
from other women, putting more pressure on the Trump campaign as
it lags in national opinion polls and struggles to contain a
crisis caused by the candidate's comments about groping women
without their consent which surfaced on Friday.
One of the women, Jessica Leeds, appeared on camera on the
New York Times' website to recount how Trump grabbed her breasts
and tried to put his hand up her skirt on a flight to New York
in or around 1980. (nyti.ms/2dx8k5R)
The second woman, Rachel Crooks, described how Trump "kissed
me directly on the mouth" in 2005 outside the elevator in Trump
Tower in Manhattan, where she was a receptionist at a real
Trump's campaign denied there was any truth to the New York
Times accounts. It made public a letter to the newspaper from
Marc Kasowitz, a lawyer representing Trump, demanding it retract
the story, calling it "libelous," and threatening legal action
if it did not comply.
"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 Trump campaign's senior communications adviser
Jason Miller said in a statement.
Reuters could not independently verify the incidents. Leeds
and Crooks did not immediately respond to requests for comment
"We stand by the story, which falls clearly into the realm
of public service journalism," a New York Times spokeswoman
The report comes just two days after a Reuters/Ipsos opinion
poll showed one in five Republicans thought Trump's comments
about groping women disqualified him from the presidency, and
put him 8 points behind Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton
among likely voters.
MORE ACCOUNTS SURFACE
Within hours, several other media outlets published similar
reports. People magazine published a detailed first-person
account from one of its reporters, Natasha Stoynoff. (bit.ly/2dTm90D)
Stoynoff said Trump pinned her against a wall at his Florida
estate in 2005 and kissed her as she struggled to get away.
"I turned around, and within seconds, he was pushing me
against the wall, and forcing his tongue down my throat,"
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request
for comment on the People story late on Wednesday. The article
included a denial from a Trump spokeswoman who called the story
a "politically motivated fictional pile-on."
Around the same time, the Palm Beach Post reported a claim
by Mindy McGillivray, 36, a woman in South Florida, that Trump
had grabbed her bottom 13 years ago while she was working at his
Mar a Lago estate as a photographer's assistant.
"There is no truth to this whatsoever," Trump's spokeswoman
Hope Hicks told the Post. McGillivray could not be reached for
CHASTISED BY SOME REPUBLICANS
The reports come on the heels of a 2005 video that surfaced
on Friday that showed Trump bragging about groping women,
kissing them without permission, and trying to seduce a married
"I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I
don't even wait," Trump is heard saying on the tape.
Trump said during the second presidential debate on Sunday
that he had not actually done the things he had boasted about,
and apologized for his remarks, which he called private "locker
The bombshell video has jeopardized Trump's chances of
winning on Election Day, and put Republican control of the U.S.
Congress in danger.
He was chastised by Republican leaders, and some called on
him to drop out of the presidential race.
On Wednesday, Trump escalated his attacks on U.S. House of
Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan after Ryan said he was no
longer going to campaign for or defend Trump.
Trump complained to thousands of supporters jammed into a
livestock arena in Ocala, Florida, that Ryan and others had not
congratulated him on his debate performance on Sunday, and the
crowd booed in sympathy.
"There is a whole deal going on and we're going to figure it
out. I always figure things out. But there's a whole sinister
deal going on," Trump said.
Trump has largely kept the support of conservative
Christians, a key voting bloc he needs to win the election.
"I take him at his word. I think he's a good man,"
evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr. told CNN on Wednesday.
Former Republican House Speaker John Boehner said in an
interview on Fox News Channel that he would vote for Trump in
spite of being "disgusted" by his comments, because he wanted to
see conservative justices named to the Supreme Court.
The interview was taped before the New York Times story was
published, but Boehner said he thought it was likely that more
negative stories would emerge in the last month of the campaign.
"What more could be said in this election cycle than has
already been said?" Boehner asked. "It couldn't be any worse,
A spokeswoman for Clinton said Wednesday's report was
"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," said Jennifer Palmieri, a spokeswoman for
the Clinton campaign.
(Additional reporting by Emily Flitter, Jonathan Allen, Emily
Stephenson, Susan Cornwell, David Morgan, Michelle Conlin, Eric
Beech and Eric Walsh; Editing by Caren Bohan and Bill Rigby)