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Trump threatens to sue women alleging sexual assault after presidential polls

us-presidential-election Updated: Oct 24, 2016 00:05 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times
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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally on October 22, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. It is believed that Ohio is a must win state for Trump to secure the presidency. (AFP)

Donald Trump has threatened to sue women who have accused him of sexual assault, but after the election, which has fueled talks that he may have given up on the race and was looking beyond the November 8 election, at least in his mind.

In a speech unveiling a plan for his first 100 days in office, the Republican US presidential candidate spent the first few minutes castigating his accusers and the media for giving them voice, and threatened to break up big media conglomerates that had accumulated too much power.

“Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign,” he said Saturday in Gettysburg, a historic site made famous worldwide by Abraham Lincoln’s 273-word speech seeking to unify a nation torn apart by a bloody civil war.

“Total fabrication. The events never happened. Never. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over.”

Read | Adult films actress accuses Trump of groping, offering her $10,000

Shortly after or around the time of the speech, another woman, an adult cinema actor, alleged Trump had kissed her against her will and had called to invite her to dinner. When she refused, he had allegedly asked, “What do you want? How much?”

The Trump campaign said in a statement the nominee “does not know this person, does not remember this person and would have no interest in ever knowing her” and said it “another attempt by the Clinton campaign to defame” him.

Would he as president, if elected, really sue them risking being deposed personally in each of those cases? Michael Warren, a commentator for the conservative news daily, The Weekly Standard, wrote that the statement “is not one of a man who believes he has a chance of winning. It’s an act of resignation. Even the words Trump used—‘after the election is over’ —indicate he’s mentally moved past November 8”.

Read | Multiple women say Trump groped them as his campaign crisis deepens

The nominee had then gone on to list out some of the steps he intended to initiate in the first 100 days in office, showing he was very much in the race, and with the goal of winning. But Warren seemed unconvinced.

The Washington Post was most expansive, in fact, in a report about Trump’s speech at a rally in North Carolina, a swing state, on Friday, saying he had seemed “subdued” and “his voice was hoarse and his heart didn’t seem in it”.

Though he spoke about winning, he seemed to have given some thought to losing. “What a waste of time if we don’t pull this off,” he said, adding,“You know, these guys have said: ‘It doesn’t matter if you win or lose. There’s never been a movement like this in the history of this country.’ I say, it matters to me if we win or lose. So I’ll have over $100 million of my own money in this campaign.”

“So, if I lose,” Trump continued, “if I lose, I will consider this …”

Read | Clinton leads by 7 points as Trump faces groping accusations: Poll

Trump’s poll numbers that were just two points short of Hillary Clinton’s on the eve of the first of the three presidential debates have been declining precipitously for this stage of the race, just 17 days from election day.

He is trailing Clinton by over 6 points in the RealClearPolitics average of polls, with his chances of winning pegged at 14.1% by FiveThirtyEight, to Clinton’s 85.9%.

Apart from a long list of missteps he has been hurt grievously by the surfacing of a 2005 recording of him boasting about sexually assaulting women, compounded by 10 women coming forward to accuse him of forcing himself on them, kissing and groping them.

Also read | Donald Trump has long history of offensive comments about women