As Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump went from one rally to another, keeping up the pretence of a man focussed on the job, his campaign was rolling out statements to counter the fresh allegations of sexual assaults surfacing.
Among its statements was one by a British man claiming a woman, who alleged being groped by Trump on a flight, was “the one being flirtatious”. This man, Anthony Gilberthorpe, had once claimed to have pimped for British politicians.
Gilberthorpe said he was on that flight and was sitting across Trump and the accuser, Jessica Leeds.
Leeds’ revelations in The New York Times on Wednesday, along with a second woman, triggered a chain of accusations that still continue.
Kristen Andersen, a photographer, told The Post on Friday that Trump groped her at a Manhattan nightspot in the 1990s, in an episode lasting no longer than 15 seconds, which, as reported by other victims, ended only when she moved away.
Andersen was on sitting a couch talking to some acquaintances when she felt a hand move up her miniskirt, to her underpants and her genitals. She shoved the hand away and turned to look at the man responsible. “He was so distinctive looking — with the hair and the eyebrows. I mean, nobody else has those eyebrows,” she told the Post.
It was Trump, she said.
But Trump tried to challenge her account, to a roar of approval from supporters at a rally, arguing it wasn’t him because he could never have been their alone, not him.
His campaign called the allegations “phony” and “ridiculous”. It will issue another statement soon.
Summer Zervos, a former contestant of The Apprentice -- the show that made Trump a celebrity -- alleged he groped her and kissed her against her will in his hotel suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles in 2007.
When she tried to push him away, saying, “Come one man, get real”, he allegedly responded by thrusting his genitals in her direction, mimicking her, “Get real”.
In the second statement of the day, Trump said he “vaguely” remembered her from the The Apprentice show, but denied the groping and kissing, saying, “That is not what I am as a person, and it is not how I’ve conducted my life.”
In an avalanche of allegations starting with Leeds and Rachel Crooks in the New York Times, Trump has been accused of groping women on a flight, outside an elevator, at his Mar-a-Lago golf resort in Florida, and ogling at contestants of his beauty pageants, some of them still in their teens, as they changed.
Trump has denied them all, of course, and sought to smother them with put-downs that only reinforced the narrative he is battling, and losing. “Believe me, she would not be my first choice, that I can tell you,” he said.
The accuser, he implied, was not good looking enough for him. What if she was?
The 70-year-old Republican nominee also once allowed a radio show host to call his daughter Ivanka a “piece of ass”, and also bragged about using his star power to force himself on women in a now infamous 2005 recording.
Trump attempted to dismiss the tape, which surfaced two days before the second presidential debate, as “locker-room talk”. At the presidential debate, he attempted to turn the issue on his rival, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, by dragging up her husband Bill -- a former US president himself. Clinton was impeached over charges stemming from his extramarital affair with a White House intern.
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