Somebody Did All The Groping, And It Was Donald Trump (Allegedly)
Wednesday was your day for October Surprises, as multiple women came forward with allegations of unwanted advances or outright sexual groping by Donald Trump, all of which were denied by Trump or his campaign, so we can probably take his word on that and just keep this story really short. Besides, as all Republicans know, only Bill Clinton has ever done that sort of thing.
The New York Times spoke to two women: Jessica Leeds, who said Trump had groped her on an airplane in the early 1980s, and Rachel Crooks, who said Trump moved from giving her a perfectly businesslike handshake to an aggressive, unwanted kiss outside an elevator in Trump Tower in 2005. A reporter for People magazine, Natasha Stoynoff, wrote a first-person account of a similar assault when she was writing a profile of Donald and Melania Trump in advance of their first anniversary; she says during a break in the interview at Mar-a-Lago, Trump said he wanted to show her a room, then closed the door, pinned her against a wall, and began kissing her aggressively, with his glowingly pregnant wife downstairs. And the Palm Beach Post spoke to Mindy McGillivray, who says that Trump groped her while she was helping a photographer at a Ray Charles concert at Mar-a-Lago in 2003. Yr Wonkette is unaware of any more recent newly published reports of groping, but we're only on our second cup of coffee.
Several of the women say they were driven to come forward when Trump claimed in Sunday's second presidential debate that he had never, ever actually done anything like the behavior he bragged about in a 2005 Access Hollywood video. Jessica Leeds said she felt as if Trump was lying to her face, telling the Times, "I wanted to punch the screen" as she watched. Rachel Crooks also recalled being infuriated by Trump's claim that he'd never done any of the things he'd bragged about. Mindy McGillivray said that when she heard Trump's denials, she jumped up from her couch and yelled "You liar!" at her TV. People's Natasha Stoynoff said it was the 2005 Access Hollywood tape that brought it all back for her:
I felt a strong mix of emotions, but shock wasn’t one of them.
I was relieved. I finally understood for sure that I was not to blame for his inappropriate behavior. I had not been singled out. As he explained to Billy Bush, it was his usual modus operandi with women. I felt deep regret for not speaking out at the time. What if he had done worse to other female reporters at the magazine since then because I hadn’t warned them?
And lastly, I felt violated and muzzled all over again.
There's a nauseating similarity to all the allegations: woman is in Trump's vicinity, Trump pounces, Trump acts as if absolutely nothing was unusual about his behavior. He's Donald Goddamn Trump and he gets what he wants, after all. And then he moves on, not caring about the effect on the women, because they are not Donald Trump and are therefore disposable. And of course, now he says none of it happened.
Jessica Leeds said Trump started getting handsy when she was seated next to him in First Class during a business flight; she'd been in coach but a flight attendant offered to reseat her, which is a thing that used to happen before airliners became flying steerage sections.
About 45 minutes after takeoff, she recalled, Mr. Trump lifted the armrest and began to touch her.
According to Ms. Leeds, Mr. Trump grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt.
“He was like an octopus,” she said. “His hands were everywhere.”
She fled to the back of the plane. “It was an assault,” she said.
Aware that her company did business with Mr. Trump, she turned and introduced herself. They shook hands, but Mr. Trump would not let go, she said. Instead, he began kissing her cheeks. Then, she said, he “kissed me directly on the mouth.”
It didn’t feel like an accident, she said. It felt like a violation.
“It was so inappropriate,” Ms. Crooks recalled in an interview. “I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that.”
Crooks initially contacted the New York Times by email in May after the paper ran a story on Trump's treatment of women; reporter Megan Twohey told NPR Thursday morning that Crooks was only willing to go on the record after Sunday's debate, when Trump denied kissing women without their permission.
"All of a sudden I felt a grab, a little nudge. I think it’s Ken’s camera bag, that was my first instinct. I turn around and there’s Donald. He sort of looked away quickly. I quickly turned back, facing Ray Charles, and I’m stunned."
McGillivray said she remembers saying to herself, "'OK, am I going to say something now and make a scene or be quiet?' I chose to stay quiet."
Davidoff said he did not witness the alleged groping but he said he has never had any reason to doubt McGillivray.
She's quite sure she wasn't mistaken, and that it was a grab, not an accidental bump:
"This was a pretty good nudge. More of a grab," she said. "It was pretty close to the center of my butt. I was startled. I jumped."
Natasha Stoynoff's story is the most detailed, and fits with the others; during a break in an interview with Donald and Melania,
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.
Now that's a butler who understands his duties: making sure Trump doesn't get busted by his very pregnant wife.
While waiting for Melania to return, we get a glimpse of Donald Trump, the seducer of people. it's about as gross as you'd expect any account involving the words "Donald Trump" and "seduce":
I sat in a chair that faced Trump, who waited for his wife on a loveseat. The butler left us, and I fumbled with my tape recorder. Trump smiled and leaned forward.
“You know we’re going to have an affair, don’t you?” he declared, in the same confident tone he uses when he says he’s going to make America great again. “Have you ever been to Peter Luger’s for steaks? I’ll take you. We’re going to have an affair, I’m telling you.” He also referenced the infamous cover of the New York Post during his affair with Marla Maples.
“You remember,” he said. “‘Best Sex I Ever Had.’”
Donald Trump quoting a tabloid about his sexiness? Yr Wonkette is sad to say we have no trouble at all believing that.
Wonkette founder and editor emerita Ana Marie Cox appeared on Wednesday's The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell, and said the stories of the women in the New York Times sounded entirely too familiar:
You brought me back, quite honestly. I mean, I, I have to say, I'm very concerned for a lot of women out there, because I was brought back by that statement to something that happened to me when I was a young woman. I would be so shocked if the other two women that you're speaking to haven't had something similar happen to them. Something like that happened to me when I was young and I couldn't do anything about it. That is what happens to women. That is why this is so preposterous, that if Donald Trump wants to go to war on this, this is such a different animal than what happened with Bill Clinton. For one thing, as we are saying, Bill Clinton is not running for office. For the other thing, Donald Trump is a predator. He is a predator who thinks that his so-called celebrity can allow him to do anything.
For its part, the Trump campaign has been vehemently insisting that all these women who say Donald Trump acted exactly like Donald bragged about acting are of course liars, because didn't Donald Trump say he never did that? Trump himself tried to bully NYT reporter Megan Twohey when she called for comment on the women's allegations:
In a phone interview on Tuesday night, a highly agitated Mr. Trump denied every one of the women’s claims.
“None of this ever took place,” said Mr. Trump, who began shouting at the Times reporter who was questioning him. He said that The Times was making up the allegations to hurt him and that he would sue the news organization if it reported them.
“You are a disgusting human being,” he told the reporter as she questioned him about the women’s claims.
Asked whether he had ever done any of the kissing or groping that he had described on the recording, Mr. Trump was once again insistent: “I don’t do it. I don’t do it. It was locker room talk.”
Man has his talking point: it was locker room talk, ergo everyone else is a liar. Then again, Donald Trump is the sort of pathological liar who never takes back anything, so you'll forgive us if we're unimpressed. Trump's lawyers have sent a nastygram to the Times threatening a lawsuit, which frankly we hope Trump follows through on, if only so we can insist that his discovery deposition, where he'd be asked under oath about his history of being a gross pervert, could take place on national TV. A blogger can dream.
Meanwhile, the Trump surrogates are doing their very best to polish the latest turd delivered unto them by their boss; so far, the most impressive has to be Spokesidiot Katrina Pierson, who claimed on CNN that Leeds has to be lying, because as everyone knows, first-class armrests were immovable in the 1980s. She also threw in some Sherlock-pretending bafflegab about what kinds of planes flew New York routes in the '80s, as if it proved anything:
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, so what I can tell you about her story, if she was groped on a plane, it wasn’t by Donald Trump and it certainly wasn’t in first class.
Hey, she forgot the 727, 737, and the 747, all of which were in service at the time, and every one of which flew to New York, seeing as how it's rather a big place. She also claimed Trump already had his own private jet by then, which, unfortunately for her, the Times did its checking on that one, noting that at the time, Trump "did not yet own a fleet of private aircraft, records show." And the moveable armrests? CNN aviation editor Jon Ostrower doesn't agree 100 percent with you on your detective work, there, Ms. Pierson:
Still, there's lots of aviation terminology Pierson can throw into her next CNN appearance. Maybe she can say Donald never uncovered his pitot tube.
Yr Wonkette will bring you updates on this story as they develop; by the end of the day, we're betting the Trump campaign will be claiming that since Trump has now been accused of groping or otherwise sexually harassing more women than Bill Clinton, Donald Trump wins, the end.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.