Four women came forward yesterday to accuse Donald Trump of sexual assault. (More)
“Within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat”
“Just for the record,” Anderson Cooper asked Donald Trump, during the presidential debate last Sunday, “are you saying … that you did not actually kiss women without (their) consent?”
“I have not,” Trump insisted.
I remember it differently.
Our photo team shot the Trumps on the lush grounds of their Florida estate, and I interviewed them about how happy their first year of marriage had been. When we took a break for the then-very-pregnant Melania to go upstairs and change wardrobe for more photos, Donald wanted to show me around the mansion. There was one “tremendous” room in particular, he said, that I just had to see.
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.
Stoynoff describes finishing the interview because “I had a job to do and I was determined to do it,” then returning to New York and telling a colleague about Trump’s assault:
“We need to go to the managing editor,” she said, “And we should kill this story, it’s a lie. Tell me what you want to do.”
But, like many women, I was ashamed and blamed myself for his transgression. I minimized it (“It’s not like he raped me…”); I doubted my recollection and my reaction. I was afraid that a famous, powerful, wealthy man could and would discredit and destroy me, especially if I got his coveted PEOPLE feature killed.
“I just want to forget it ever happened,” I insisted. The happy anniversary story hit newsstands a week later and Donald left me a voicemail at work, thanking me.
“I think you’re terrific,” he said, “the article was great and you’re great.”
Yeah, I thought. I’m great because I kept my mouth shut.
“She rose from her couch and yelled at the TV screen: ‘You liar!’”
And she wasn’t alone:
For more than 10 years, it was something Mindy McGillivray said she shared only with a close circle of family and friends.
That changed Sunday night. Donald Trump was asked during the presidential debate about when he bragged that he kissed women without their consent and grabbed their genitals – remarks captured on audio that surfaced last week.
Trump apologized for the remarks and dismissed them as “locker room talk.” But the debate moderator, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, asked Trump to clarify: “Have you ever done those things?”
“No, I have not,” Trump replied.
Watching at home in Palm Springs, McGillivray said she rose from her couch and yelled at the TV screen: “‘You liar!’”
McGillivray was assisting professional photographer Ken Davidoff on a 2003 photo shot at Mar-a-Lago. Davidoff “vividly remembers” her telling him that Trump had just groped her. She decided not to “make a scene” and kept the story among her family and close friends until this week.
“Do y’all remember that one time we had to do our onstage introductions, but this one guy treated us like cattle and made us do it again because we didn’t look him in the eyes? Do you also remember when he then proceeded to have us lined up so he could get a closer look at his property? Oh I forgot to mention that guy will be in the running to become the next President of the United States. I love the idea of having a misogynist as the President. #HeWillProbablySueMe #iHaveWorseStoriesSoComeAtMeBro #Drumpf.”
That’s from her Facebook post, to which she added a comment:
“He probably doesn’t want me telling the story about that time he continually grabbed my ass and invited me to his hotel room.”
And the New York Times has two other women who’ve come forward, one a woman who was seated beside Trump on an airline flight in 1980, another a receptionist at a real estate company in Trump Tower in 2005.
“Clearly in the realm of public service journalism”
The GOP presidential nominee was considering filing a lawsuit against the Times and was consulting with advisers about his legal options, according to two people close to him. The two people, who requested anonymity to discuss private conversations, said Trump is furious about the accusations made against him in the story and with the newspaper for publishing them.
Early Thursday morning, Trump’s campaign released a letter from attorney Marc E. Kasowitz demanding a retraction from the Times. “Failure to do so will leave my client with no option but to pursue all available actions and remedies,” it said. The letter was addressed to Times executive editor Dean Baquet.
But Times editor Dean Baquet was not impressed:
Baquet told CNNMoney he’s not concerned about potential legal action. “I think it is pretty evident this story falls clearly in the realm of public service journalism, and discussing issues that arose from the tape and his comments since it surfaced,” he said. Last month Trump said he would sue the Times for publishing three pages of his 1995 tax return, but he has yet to file that suit.
Rolling Stone’s Tessa Stuart offers a timeline of these events and other Trump sleaze. The dam has truly burst …
“The “jet fuel can’t melt steel beams” of sexual assault denialism”
… and Trump’s lame Airline Armrests Defense won’t kill these stories, as Vox’s Dylan Matthews explains:
This is a harrowing account, one consistent with those of at least five other women who have gone on record accusing Trump of kissing or groping them without consent.
But Katrina Pierson, a spokesperson for the Trump campaign and an omnipresent figure on cable news this election, thinks she’s cracked the case: Leeds is lying, she insists, because her story doesn’t jibe with Pierson’s personal knowledge of the development of the American aerospace sector. Here is Pierson, on national television, insisting that Leeds must be lying because of the kind of planes that were common in the early ‘80s, and because armrests in first class are fixed:
“We’re talking about the early 1980s, Don, seriously? Back then you had planes – what, a DC-9, a DC-10, an MD-80, a 707, and maybe an L-1011. But she said specifically that this was to New York. This is important, so we can X-out the DC-10 and the L-1011. Guess what? First class seats have fixed armrests.”
You will be shocked to learn that Katrina Pierson, who was four or five years old at the time that Leeds alleges the assault took place, is incorrect about which planes were flying out of New York in the early 1980s:
— NYCAviation (@NYCAviation) October 13, 2016
This is basically the “jet fuel can’t melt steel beams” of sexual assault denialism.
“We’re going to turn him into Bill Cosby”
The Trump campaign’s principal defense, of course, is to attack Hillary Clinton for Bill Clinton’s affairs:
[Trump campaign chair Stephen] Bannon has long believed that young, socially liberal voters unfamiliar with the Clinton scandals of the ’90s will become disillusioned if they learn more about them. ”There’s a whole generation of people who love the news but were 7 or 8 years old when this happened and have no earthly idea about the Clinton sex stuff,” Bannon told Bloomberg Businessweek last year.
That view has now become the guiding principle of Trump’s presidential campaign and explains why Trump is going to such lengths to portray Hillary Clinton as an enabler of sexual violence. On Tuesday, Bannon laid out the campaign’s argument. “She’s led a program of victim intimidation,” Bannon told Trump staffers, according to two advisers who were present. “This has nothing to do with consensual sexual affairs and infidelities. This is Bill. We’re going to turn him into Bill Cosby. He’s a violent sexual predator who physically abuses women who he assaults. And she takes the lead on the intimidation of the victims.”
It’s no accident that Trump’s strategy has ended up focusing on the Clinton scandals of the 1990s: The prospect of litigating Hillary Clinton’s culpability in a long litany of sexual and political scandals has been a right-wing fantasy for decades.
It’s going to be a long three-and-a-half weeks….
Photo Credit: Stephen Jack Basil (SBJ Auxiliary)
Good day and good nuts