Election 2016

The Floodgates Open: Growing Numbers of Women, Including People Magazine Writer, Come Forward With Stories of Being Assaulted by Trump

Looks like it could be a tidal wave.

Photo Credit: a katz / Shutterstock.com

No woman, it seems, is safe from the short-fingered paws, leering gaze or butthole mouth of Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee—at least if the latest set of women making allegations against him are to be believed. And believe them I do.

But you know how many women will have to come forward with similar allegations before Republican leaders revoke their endorsement of Trump? Infinity, that’s how many.

Because if Trump’s own admission that he could "grab" random women “by the p*ssy” whenever he pleased isn’t enough for choirboy Paul Ryan or father-of-three-daughters Mitch McConnell to revoke their endorsements of Trump, why would a few more women complaining of being groped, barged in on while dressing, kissed without permission, or clutched from behind? Well, it’s actually piling up to be more than a few. But who’s counting? Surely not Ralph Reed, that guardian of Christian propriety who pedals pious proverbs while stumping for a pervert. And certainly not Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman whom Trump calls “Mr. Switzerland” for his neutrality.

A series of new allegations of sexual assaults and transgressions against several women was capped Wednesday with a report by People magazine’s Natasha Stoynoff, who related her experience when she was sent to Mar-a-Lago, the Trump resort and estate, to cover the first anniversary of his marriage to Melania (who, Stoynoff writes, was “very pregnant” at the time). When the third Mrs. Trump went to her room to change for a photo shoot, Trump told Stoynoff he wanted to show her a “tremendous,” very special room in the couple’s quarters. She continues:

We walked into that room alone, and Trump shut the door behind us. I turned around, and within seconds, he was pushing me against the wall, and forcing his tongue down my throat.

Now, I’m a tall, strapping girl who grew up wrestling two giant brothers. 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.

The butler informed us that Melania would be down momentarily, and it was time to resume the interview.

Earlier, as the midweek evening commute commenced in Manhattan, the New York Times published interviews with two women who said they were accosted by Trump. And a former Miss USA contestant told the Guardian about an incident in which she alleged Trump barged into a dressing room where she and other contestants were changing—after he had been told that the women were naked.

Jessica Leeds told Megan Twohey and Michael Barbaro of the Times that in 1980, she was unexpectedly bumped up to first class while traveling for business on a passenger jet, and seated next to Trump. They exchanged pleasantries, ate their meals, and when the trays were cleared, he pushed up the middle armrest and began groping her—first her breasts, and then he put his hand under her skirt. Leeds says she got up and returned to her seat in coach, not saying a word to anyone. (Truth be told, in 1980, I wouldn’t have either.)

“He was like an octopus. His hands were everywhere,” Leeds told the Times. “It was an assault.”

The Times also spoke with Rachel Crooks, who met Trump in 2005 when she was a secretary for the Bayrock Group, a real estate firm that did business with him. The two were standing at an elevator in the building where she worked, and she introduced herself to him, shaking his hand. He began kissing her on the mouth, she told the Times. The man who was her boyfriend at the time corroborated her account to the Times.

Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that a contestant in the 2001 Miss USA pageant, which Trump owned as part of the Miss Universe franchise, says she was in a dressing room with another contestant during a rehearsal in Indiana when Trump barged in—after having been told by a security guard that the women were naked. “He didn’t walk in and say, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry, I was looking for someone,’" the former contestant told the Guardian’s Molly Redden. “He walked in, he stood and he stared. He was doing it because he knew that he could.”

Rolling Stone’s Tessa Stuart reports in a rather epic story on Trump’s pageant tyranny, on a Facebook post by Cassandra Searles, who represented Washington State in the 2013 Miss USA pageant, in which Searles added a comment to the post that reads, “He probably doesn't want me telling the story about that time he continually grabbed my ass and invited me to his hotel room."

As Trump “rampaged through Florida” on Wednesday, to quote a Politico headline, Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post reported that Mindy McGillivray, who helped her friend, photographer Ken Davidoff, on a 2003 shoot of a Ray Charles concert at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, says Trump grabbed her behind while standing near his fiancée, Melania.

“This was a pretty good nudge. More of a grab,’’ McGillivray told the Post. “It was pretty close to the center of my butt. I was startled. I jumped.’’

Add these four allegations to those of Mariah Billado, the 1997 Miss Vermont Teen USA, who also said Trump barged in on a pageant dressing room, and Temple Taggart—Miss Utah that year in the Miss USA contest—who said Trump kissed her on the mouth without her consent.

And there’s more. When asked by the Timesfor comment on the allegations made by Leeds and Crooks, Trump went ballistic on the reporter, according to the paper. He began shouting, telling the reporter, “You’re a disgusting person.”

Which is kind of an ironic allegation on his part, no?

Both Leeds, the woman who says Trump groped her on the plane, and McGillivray, who says Trump grabbed her at Mar-a-Lago, told the respective news outlets that reported their claims, that they wanted to throw something at the television while watching the October 9 presidential debate, when Trump said he had never done anything like the deeds he described as his right in the now-infamous video footage of his 2005 hot-mic moment with “Access Hollywood.”

You know who else probably wanted to throw something at the screen? Herman Cain. Remember old Mr. Shucky-Ducky, the Koch-assisted, pizza-magnate 2012 Republican primary candidate? Poor Herman Cain was drummed out of the Republican contest upon word that the National Restaurant Association had paid two women in Cain’s employ to go away after they made allegations of sexual harassment against him. Just two women!

Them’s small potatoes for Donald Trump—but at least he can count on keeping Cain’s endorsement.

Adele M. Stan is a weekly columnist for The American Prospect. Follow her on Twitter @addiestan.

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