Donald Trump’s campaign on Friday put forth the cousin of a woman who accused the Republican nominee of sexual harassment, using his statement as evidence against the woman’s account.
John Barry, whom the Trump campaign identified as the first cousin of Summer Zervos, said in a statement that he was “shocked and bewildered” by the Friday press conference at which Zervos said Trump kissed her on the mouth, stripped naked and attempted to seduce her when she met with him for professional advice in 2007.
“I think Summer wishes she could still be on reality TV, and in an effort to get that back she’s saying all of these negative things about Mr. Trump. That’s not how she talked about him before,” said Barry, who provided no evidence to counter Zervos’ claim.
“I can only imagine that Summer’s actions today are nothing more than an attempt to regain the spotlight at Mr. Trump’s expense, and I don’t think it reflects well.”
During the press conference, Zervos said she had told a friend and her parents about the incident. She said she was upset at the time, but had still hoped to get a job within the Trump Organization to further her business career. “I felt I was being penalized for not sleeping with him,” she said.
Trump has denied the accusations from Zervos and multiple other women who this week accused him of inappropriately touching or kissing them without consent. At a rally on Friday, Trump attacked the credibility and appearance of his accusers and blamed their claims on a “rigged system” conspiring against him.
“It’s a lie, total lie, it’s fabrication,” he said during the speech. “Sometimes they do it for fame, maybe they get money, who knows?”
At a subsequent rally on Friday night, Trump described himself as the victim.
“As you have seen, I am a victim of one of the great political smear campaigns in the history of our country,” he said. “They are coming after me to try and destroy what is considered by even them the greatest movement in the history of our country. There’s never been anything like this.”