Yesterday morning, I noted that four competitors in the Miss Teen USA pageant had alleged Donald Trump walked in on them while they were in various states of undress, which is also alleged to have done to Miss Universe and/or Miss USA contestants.
By the end of the day, there were at least seven more assault allegations against Trump.
First, the New York Times reported [CN: video may autoplay at link] the stories of two women who had been groped by Trump many years ago, and who felt compelled to come forward after Trump claimed during the last debate that his "grab women's pussies" comment was just "locker room talk," but that he had never actually done anything like that.
Jessica Leeds recounted sitting next to Trump on an airplane more than three decades ago: "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."
Rachel Crooks recounted meeting Trump in an elevator and introducing herself, because the company for which she worked did business with his: "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.'"
The Trump campaign responded to the story by publishing a statement on the campaign website, which read, in part: "This entire article is fiction, and for the New York Times to launch a completely false, coordinated character assassination against Mr. Trump on a topic like this is dangerous. To reach back decades in an attempt to smear Mr. Trump trivializes sexual assault...It is absurd to think that one of the most recognizable business leaders on the planet with a strong record of empowering women in his companies would do the things alleged in this story, and for this to only become public decades later in the final month of a campaign for president should say it all."
There's a lot to unpack there. I will simply note, again, that the only reason these stories became "public decades later" is because the women he assaulted saw him lie during a presidential debate and refused to let him get away with it.
Leeds' and Crooks' stories are very much like those of Jill Harth and Temple Taggart, which were already public.
Expect more and more stories about Trump's history of predation and abuse now, because there is safety in numbers. See also: Cosby.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) October 12, 2016
And so there were. By the end of last night, we had also learned [CN: video may autoplay at link] People writer Natasha Stoynoff's harrowing tale of being assaulted by Trump while on assignment: "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." Saved by the butler, she went back to the interview, and then:
I tried to act normal. I had a job to do, and I was determined to do it. 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.We also learned that former Miss USA contestant Cassandra Searles had posted on Facebook about Trump's predatory behavior, including "that time he continually grabbed my ass and invited me to his hotel room."
"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."
And that former Miss Arizona Tasha Dixon said Trump came "waltzing in" on pageant contestants in their dressing rooms, and another contestant, who preferred to remain anonymous, described yet another, separate incident.
And that Mindy McGillivray "said she was groped by Trump at Mar-a-Lago 13 years ago. She said she never reported it to authorities. But her companion that day, photographer Ken Davidoff, vividly remembers when McGillivray pulled him aside moments after the alleged incident and told him, 'Donald just grabbed my ass!'"
And that [CN: video may autoplay at link] there is footage from a 1992 Entertainment Tonight Christmas special of Trump looking "at a group of young girls and said he would be dating one of them in ten years."
In the clip, Trump asks one of the girls if she's "going up the escalator." When the girl replies, "yeah," Trump turns to the camera and says: "I am going to be dating her in 10 years. Can you believe it?"There may well be some that I've missed. The floodgates have opened.
Trump has gotten away with this behavior for a very long time. There are certainly lots of women he has abused over many decades. And every member of the Republican Party who has supported this guy, and continues to support him, is abetting his continued abuse. The last thing he needs is more power.
We have to win this election.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 13, 2016
Yes, yes we do. And our choice is between a woman who used her position as Secretary of State to faciliate the prevention of sexual violence around the globe, or a man who is himself a sexual predator.
My support and solidarity with every woman who is speaking out.