Two women accused Donald Trump of inappropriate touching in a story posted on the New York Times website on Wednesday, accusations his spokesman called “fiction” but which may further roil the Republican presidential nominee’s campaign with only four weeks to go until the Nov. 8 election.
One of the women, Jessica Leeds, appeared on camera to recount how Trump grabbed her breast and tried to put his hand up her skirt in the first class cabin on a flight to New York in the early 1980s.
The second woman, Rachel Crooks, described how Trump “kissed me directly on the mouth” in 2005 outside the elevator in Trump Tower in Manhattan, where she was a receptionist at a real estate firm.
“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,” Trump campaign senior communications adviser Jason Miller said in a statement.
The report comes on the heels of a 2005 video that surfaced on Friday that showed Trump bragging about groping women, kissing them without permission, and trying to seduce a married woman.
That video has damaged Trump’s poll numbers, particularly with women voters. He was chastised by Republican leaders, and some called on him to drop out of the presidential race.
Trump has apologized for his remarks, which he called private “locker room” talk. During the presidential debate on Sunday, he said he had not actually kissed women without permission nor groped them.
That assertion was what spurred one of the women to speak out, the New York Times said in its report.
“He was like an octopus,” said Leeds, now 74. “His hands were everywhere.”
The New York Times reported that Trump, in an angry phone call, denied the incidents and threatened to sue the newspaper.