After a tape leaked last week showed Donald Trump bragging about “grabbing women by the p-ssy” and saying “you can do anything,” the Republican nominee has been on the defensive about his alleged mistreatment of women.
Trump has maintained that the tape was just “locker room banter” and that his lewd words were not tied to any inappropriate actions. When Anderson Cooper asked Trump at the second presidential debate whether if he had ever touched a woman sexually without her consent Trump said, “No, I have not.”
But several women have come forward with allegations that Trump harassed them, groped them or kissed them without their consent. Here are their stories:
Temple Daggart McDowell
Who is she: The former Miss Utah was 21 when she competed in the the 1997 Miss USA pageant. She first described her encounter to the New York Times in May, and then gave a more extensive interview to NBC.
Claims: McDowell says she met Trump at a pageant rehearsal, and he “embraced me and gave me a kiss on the lips,” she told NBC. Then later, when Trump had offered to help with her career and get contacts with modeling agencies, she met him at Trump Tower, where he again embraced her and kissed her on the mouth.
Evidence: The second instance was in front of other people: two pageant chaperones and a receptionist. McDowell says one of the chaperones was made so “uncomfortable” by the encounter that she told her never to be alone again with Trump and the other accompanied her to Trump’s office. They were not quoted in the NBC story.
Trump response: “I don’t even know who she is,” he told NBC. “She claims this took place in a public area. I never kissed her. I emphatically deny this ridiculous claim.”
Who is she: Leeds, now 74, was a traveling businesswoman at a paper company when she was seated next to Donald Trump on an airplane, according to the New York Times.
Claims: She says more than 30 years ago, she sat next to Trump in first class on a flight to New York. After takeoff, he lifted the armrest and began touching her—she says he grabbed her breasts and tried to put a hand up her skirt. “He was like an octopus,” she said. “His hands were everywhere.” She called the incident “an assault.”
Evidence: The Times says Leeds told this story to at least four people “close to her,” and that those people also verified the story to the Times. It is not clear whether anybody on the plane has corroborated the story.
Trump response: Trump’s lawyers have demanded a retraction of the New York Times story about Leeds and Rachel Crooks, calling it libelous. Trump tweeted that the story was a “fabrication” and said in a speech Thursday that Leeds’ story was “another ridiculous tale, no witnesses, no nothing.”
Who is she: In 2005, Crooks was a 22-year-old receptionist at Bayrock Group, a real estate investment and development company in Trump Tower in Manhattan. That was the same year Trump made the Access Hollywood comments that have recently made headlines.
Claims: Crooks says she ran into Trump outside an elevator in the building in 2005, and she introduced herself. They shook hands, but then he wouldn’t let go of of her hand, kissed her on both cheeks and then directly on the mouth. “It was so inappropriate,” Crooks told the New York Times. “I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that.”
Evidence: She immediately called her sister, Brianne Webb, who corroborated the account to the Times.
Who is she: Stonyoff was a longtime write for PEOPLE magazine who was assigned to cover the Trump beat.
Claims: Stonyoff wrote in PEOPLE Wednesday that in December 2005 she went to Mar-a-Lago to write a profile of Trump and Melania for their first wedding anniversary. She says Trump took her to a room, closed the door, pushed her up against the wall and kissed her without her consent. She says he later told her: “You know we’re going to have an affair, don’t you? Have you ever been to Peter Luger’s for steaks? I’ll take you.” She recalls him referring to his infamous New York Post cover during his affair with Marla Maples: “You remember,” he said. “‘Best Sex I Ever Had.’”
The next morning, Stonyoff scheduled a massage to help her with a chronic neck condition. She was running late for her appointment, but when she got there, she said the massage therapist told her that Trump had been waiting for her in her private massage room.
Evidence: She says she told a colleague, who asked her if she wanted to tell the managing editor and kill the story. She did not, and the story ran, but she asked to be taken off the Trump beat.
Trump response: Trump tweeted: “Why didn’t the writer of the twelve year old article in People Magazine mention the “incident” in her story. Because it did not happen!” Later, in a speech on Thursday, Trump reiterated that question (“Why wasn’t it part of the story that appeared 12 years ago?”) and added: “by the way, the area was a public area, people all over the place. Look at her, look at her words, you tell me what you think. I don’t think so.”
Who is she: Harth and her then-fiance ran a beauty pageant business and were in talks with Trump about a partnership. According to the New York Times, Harth and her partner were “negotiating with Trump to hold the events in his Atlantic City casinos as a way to bring all of them more revenue.” Harth first detailed her claims in a deposition over a lawsuit in 1997.
Claims: Harth says on Jan 24, 1993, Trump pulled her into Ivanka’s empty bedroom at Mar-a-Lago (she met with him at his Florida residence several times over the course of negotiating the pageant partnership.) “I was admiring the decoration, and next thing I know he’s pushing me against a wall and has his hands all over me,” Harth told the Times. “He was trying to kiss me. I was freaking out.” Harth said the harassment continued over the course of subsequent business meetings that year. “He’d say, ‘Let’s go in my room, I want to lie down,’ and he’d pull me along. I’d say, ‘I don’t want to lie down,’ and it would turn into a wrestling match. … I remember yelling, ‘I didn’t come here for this.’ He’d say, ‘Just calm down.’”
According to the Times, “Harth says that she worried about being raped by a man who weighed twice as much as she did, and at one point she vomited as a defense mechanism. But she says that he was never violent and genuinely seemed to assume sexual interest on her part; often he was playful as she was frightened: “His mind was in a totally different place than mine,” Harth recalls. “’He thinks he’s God’s gift to women.'”
Years later, after her marriage and divorce from partner George Houraney, Trump continued to pursue Harth and she briefly dated him.
Evidence: These allegations are outlined in a deposition, when Harth and her then-partner sued Trump for breach of contract in 1997. Harth also separately filed a sexual harassment suit, which also alleged attempted rape; she withdrew her suit as a condition for settling the contract dispute, she says. Her then-partner, George Houraney, also confirmed the account.
Trump response: Most recently, Hope Hicks responded to the new New York Times article and said “Mr. Trump denies each and every statement made by Ms. Harth.” Even in the ’90s, Trump denied the story. In April 2016, Trump told the Boston Globe that Harth brought up the sexual assault only after the business suit wasn’t going her way: “Later on, they brought this up,” he said. “They were losing the business dispute angle, so they brought that up.” He told the National Enquirer: “The truth is that Jill Harth is obsessed with ME — and would do everything she could do to get into my pants! Her claims are extortion, pure and simple.”
Who is she: Dixon was Miss Arizona in the 2001 Miss USA Pageant.
Claims: Dixon says Trump would come to the dressing room while pageant contestants were changing into their bathing suits. “Our first introduction to him was when we were at the dress rehearsal and half naked changing into our bikinis,” Dixon told a local CBS affiliate. “He just came strolling right in. There was no second to put a robe on or any sort of clothing or anything. Some girls were topless. Other girls were naked.”
Evidence: Trump himself bragged about walking in on half-nude beauty contestants to Howard Stern in 2005. “I’ll go backstage before a show and everyone’s getting dressed and ready and everything else. And you know, no men are anywhere. And I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant,” he told Howard Stern in a radio interview. “Is everyone OK? You know they’re standing there with no clothes. Is everybody OK? And you see these incredible looking women. And so I sort of get away with things like that.”
Trump response: Trump has not yet publicly addressed Dixon’s claim.
Who She Is: A contestant on season 5 of The Apprentice.
Claims: Zervos claims that after she was fired from The Apprentice, she sought professional advice from Donald Trump. She says he invited her for dinner, but when she walked into his bungalow she saw his clothes on the bed and heard him say “hello-oo” in a singsong voice from the bedroom. When he finally came out of the bedroom (clothed,) he kissed her “very aggressively” and grabbed her breast before trying to get her to come into the bedroom with him to “watch some telly-telly.” The professional opportunities evaporated as soon as she firmly rejected Trump, and Zervos said she “felt I was being penalized for not sleeping with him.”
Evidence: Zervos’s lawyer Gloria Allred has said that she has corroborated Zervos’s story with several witnesses, although those witnesses have not been named.
Trump’s response: In a statement, Trump said he “vaguely” remembers Zervos but denies the encounter as she recalls it. “I never met her at a hotel or greeted her inappropriately a decade ago,” he said. “That is not who I am as a person, and it is now how I’ve conducted my life.”
Who she is: A young model and restaurant hostess who sat near Trump at a crowded nightclub in the early 1990s.
Claims: Anderson claims Donald Trump put his hand up her skirt and touched her vagina through her underwear as she was sitting next to him on a red velvet couch in a nightclub in the early 1990s. She said she recognized Trump immediately and that she and her companions were “grossed out” by what had happened. “There was zero conversation. We didn’t even really look at each other. It was very random, very nonchalant on his part.”
Evidence: Anderson told the story to several girlfriends shortly afterwards and then to other friends over the years. Two friends confirmed the story to the Washington Post.
Trump’s response: “Mr. Trump strongly denies this phony allegation by someone looking to get some free publicity. It is totally ridiculous,” his campaign told the Post.
Who she is: Now a yoga teacher, Virginia stood near Trump at U.S. Open in 1998
Claims: Virginia claims she overheard Trump appraising her body as she waited for a cab outside the U.S. Open. “He said ‘hey, look at this one, we haven’t seen her before, look at those legs,’ as though I was an object rather than a person,” she said in a press conference. Virginia then alleges Trump came up to her, grabbed her arm, and touched her breast.
Evidence: Virginia says she told several friends about the encounter right after it happened, and her husband learned of it later.
Trump’s Response: His campaign called Virginia’s allegation “another coordinated, publicity seeking attack” by “political operative Gloria Allred,” who represents Virginia and several other accusers (Allred is a Clinton supporter, but says she is not at all affiliated with the campaign.) “Give me a break,” said Deputy Communications Director Jessica Ditto in a statement.
Who She Is: Drake is an adult film star who says she met Trump 10 years ago at a golf course.
Claims: Drake claims that Trump invited her up to his room, kissed her without asking permission, and they had a conversation that “felt like an interview” (she brought two friends with her.) Later, Drake says Trump called her back to ask her to come back up to his room. When she refused, she says he asked her “how much?” then offered her $100,000 and the use of his private jet to get her to acquiesce.
Evidence: The two friends who accompanied Drake have not yet been named.
Trump’s Response: In a radio interview Monday, Trump called Drake a “porn star” and said, “Oh, I’m sure she’s never been grabbed before.” He also called all the stories “total fiction.”
- Extreme Heat Makes It Hard for Kids to Be Active. But Exercise Is Crucial In a Warming World
- Pelosi's Visit to Taiwan Has Badly Damaged U.S.-China Relations, But Not Irreversibly
- Reality TV Has Reshaped Our World, Whether We Like It or Not
- Progress Is Not A Given. It is Won: The Connection Between James Baldwin and Toni Morrison
- The Inflation Reduction Act's Name Says A Lot About The Climate Fight
- How Reservation Dogs Became More than Just Must-See Television in Its Second Season
- The U.S Will Soon Have Space Force Ambassadors Around the World