- Jessica Leeds, Rachel Crooks, and Samantha Holvey recounted their allegations of sexual misconduct against President Donald Trump in an interview on NBC News’ “Megyn Kelly Today” on Monday.
- “All of a sudden he was all over me, kissing and groping,” Leeds said.
- Crooks said Trump held her hand and kissed her on the mouth when she was working as a receptionist at Trump Tower in Manhattan in 2005.
- On Sunday, Nikki Haley, the UN ambassador who is one of the highest-ranking women in the Trump administration, said the president’s accusers “should be heard.”
- The White House denied the accusations on Monday, saying in part, “The timing and absurdity of these false claims speaks volumes, and the publicity tour that has begun only further confirms the political motives behind them.”
The White House lashed out Monday at the women who have accused President Donald Trump of sexual harassment after three of them recounted their accusations during a television interview.
Jessica Leeds, Rachel Crooks, and Samantha Holvey, who initially went public with their accusations last year, detailed them on NBC News’ “Megyn Kelly Today” on Monday.
“We are private citizens, and for us to put ourselves out there to try and show America who this man is and especially how he views women, and for them to say, ‘Nah, we don’t care’ — it hurt,” Holvey said. “Now it’s just like, all right, let’s try round two. The environment’s different. Let’s try again.”
The White House denied the accusations in a statement.
“These false claims, totally disputed in most cases by eyewitness accounts, were addressed at length during last year’s campaign, and the American people voiced their judgment by delivering a decisive victory,” the statement read. “The timing and absurdity of these false claims speaks volumes, and the publicity tour that has begun only further confirms the political motives behind them.”
Crooks said that she introduced herself to Trump in 2005 outside an elevator in Trump Tower in Manhattan, where she worked as a receptionist, and that he kissed her on the mouth.
“He held onto my hand, and he kept kissing me,” Crooks said.
“I was shocked, devastated,” she said, adding: “I remember hiding in our boss’ office because no one else was there, it was early in the morning, and I called my sister … I felt horrible.”
Crooks said that at the time she thought she would lose her job if she told her company anything about the interaction.
“I wish I had been stronger then,” she said.
She said the denials from the White House were “laughable” and “crazy.”
“I can’t imagine anyone wanting to come into the spotlight about this,” she said. “The things that happened to us spanned decades, states, all over. What could we possibly — have we colluded to come up with these tales that all sound so eerily similar.”
Holvey, a contestant in the 2006 Miss USA pageant, which Trump owned, described Trump walking through the dressing room while the women were dressed in only robes.
“He lined all of us up,” she said. “I thought this was going to be like a meet-and-greet.”
But Trump was “looking me over like I was just a piece of meat,” Holvey said. “I was just simply there for his pleasure. It left me feeling very gross, very dirty, like, ‘This is not what I signed up for.'”
Leeds said she was on a flight in the late 1970s when Trump, seated next to her, started groping her.
“All of a sudden he was all over me, kissing and groping,” she said. “Nothing was said … It was just this silent groping going on.”
She added, “When his hands started going up my skirt — I’m not a small person — I managed to wiggle out and stand up, grab my purse, and I went to the back of the airplane.”
Leeds said she was at a gala in New York three years later when she ran into Trump, who recognized her and called her a c—.
“He called me the worst name ever,” she said. “It was shocking. It was like a bucket of cold water being thrown over me.” When Kelly pressed Leeds on whether Trump called her a “c—,” Leeds said “yes.”
Trump has denied Leeds’ accusation.
“People that are willing to say, ‘Oh, I was with Donald Trump in 1980, I was sitting with him on an airplane, and he went after me,'” Trump said at a rally in October 2016. “Believe me, she would not be my first choice.”
Leeds said she decided when Trump announced he was running for president that she would go public with her story.
“I really wanted people to know who he is,” she said.
The interview aired the day after Nikki Haley, the US’s ambassador to the United Nations, discussed the president’s accusers.
“They should be heard, and they should be dealt with,” Haley, one of the highest-ranking women in the Trump administration, said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “And I think we heard from them prior to the election. And I think any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way, they have every right to speak up.”
Trump could be forced to testify on sexual-harassment accusations
Trump is facing a defamation lawsuit brought by Summer Zervos, one of at least 16 women who have accused him of sexual harassment.
Zervos, a former contestant on “The Apprentice,” said last year that Trump “very aggressively” kissed her, groped her breasts, and began “thrusting” his genitals at her in a 2007 meeting at The Beverly Hills Hotel. She says Trump damaged her reputation when he called her a liar.
Trump could be forced to testify on the many sexual-harassment allegations against him as part of the lawsuit. His accusers could also be called to testify.
Crooks said Monday that she had no interest in filing a lawsuit against Trump but that she would support Zervos’ lawsuit.
“I would be happy to support her,” Crooks said. “For me, it’s just about getting the truth out there.”
Trump’s legal team is arguing that the case should be dismissed because a sitting president can’t be sued in state court and that a trial could distract Trump from his official business.
A decision on whether the case can proceed could come before the end of the year.