Trump ‘ groped woman like an oc­to­pus’

> But ty­coon’s spokesman re­jects al­le­ga­tion as ‘char­ac­ter as­sas­si­na­tion’

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

WASHINGTON: Newly pub­lished ac­cu­sa­tions that Don­ald Trump groped or in­ap­pro­pri­ately kissed women rocked the race for the White House yes­ter­day, with the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee an­grily deny­ing the re­ports and his cam­paign brand­ing them as “char­ac­ter as­sas­si­na­tion”.

Claims by four women, whose ac­counts were re­ported by The New York Times, The Palm Beach Post and Ya­hoo News, came to light af­ter he said in Sun­day’s pres­i­den­tial de­bate with ri­val Hil­lary Clin­ton that he had never as­saulted women.

Trump’s de­nial came as he tried to set his cam­paign back on track af­ter a video record­ing from 2005 sur­faced on Fri­day in which the 70-year-old is heard mak­ing lewd boasts about how his celebrity meant he could grope women with im­punity.

“When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do any­thing.”

He added that when he meets beau­ti­ful women, “I just start kiss­ing them”.

Trump has apol­o­gised for the re­marks, dis­miss­ing it as “locker room” ban­ter.

With just 27 days un­til the Nov 8 elec­tion, and Demo­crat Clin­ton in the driver’s seat with na­tional polls in her favour, the em­bat­tled Trump had sought to get back on the of­fen­sive.

But the ex­plo­sive new al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct put his be­hav­iour with women in the spot­light once again.

For­mer busi­ness­woman Jes­sica Leeds, 74, who worked for a pa­per com­pany, told the Times that Trump groped her on a flight in the early 1980s as they sat next to each other in first class.

About 45 min­utes af­ter take­off, Trump lifted the arm­rest and be­gan grab­bing her and tried to put his hand up her skirt, Leeds said.

“He was like an oc­to­pus. His hands were ev­ery­where,” she told the daily. “It was an as­sault.” Rachel Crooks said she was a 22-yearold re­cep­tion­ist at a real es­tate com­pany in Trump Tower in 2005 when she en­coun­tered Trump out­side an el­e­va­tor in the build­ing one morn­ing.

She in­tro­duced her­self and shook his hand, but he would not let go.

Trump be­gan kiss­ing her cheeks and then “kissed me di­rectly on the mouth”, she told the Times.

“I was so up­set that he thought I was so in­signif­i­cant that he could do that.”

“None of this ever took place,” Trump an­grily told the Times, call­ing the re­porter a “dis­gust­ing hu­man be­ing”.

His se­nior com­mu­ni­ca­tors ad­vi­sor Ja­son Miller said the re­port is a “co­or­di­nated char­ac­ter as­sas­si­na­tion”.

The Palm Beach Post also pub­lished a re­port yes­ter­day on its on­line site in which Mindy McGil­livray, now 36, al­leged that Trump grabbed her at his Mar-A-Lago re­sort in Florida in early 2003.

“I was star­tled. I jumped,” she said of the in­ci­dent that hap­pened as she was work­ing as a pho­tog­ra­pher’s as­sis­tant.

More sor­did al­le­ga­tions came from Miss Washington 2013 Cas­san­dra Sear­les.

Ya­hoo News re­ported that she had called Trump a “misog­y­nist” in a Face­book post, and said in a com­ment that he had “con­tin­u­ally” grabbed her and “in­vited me to his ho­tel room”. – AFP

REUTERSPIX

Trump holds up signs at the end of a cam­paign rally in Lake­land, Florida yes­ter­day.

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