Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump on Friday called the women accusing him of sexual misconduct sick liars seeking fame as part of a plot to discredit him after two more came forward with allegations that he had groped them.
The new accusations were made by a contestant on his reality TV show “The Apprentice” who cited a 2007 incident and by a woman who described an incident from the early 1990s.
With the allegations against Trump dominating the campaign, opinion polls show Trump trailing Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. A Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll taken Oct. 7-13 and released on Friday showed Trump behind Clinton by 7 percentage points among likely voters in the Nov. 8 election.
Summer Zervos, who competed on the reality TV show’s fifth season in 2006, appeared at a news conference with celebrity attorney Gloria Allred in Los Angeles, saying Trump kissed her, touched her breast and tried to get her to lie down on a bed with him during a meeting about a possible job.
“He put me in an embrace and I tried to push him away. I pushed his chest to put space between us and I said, ‘Come on man, get real.’ He repeated my words back to me, ‘Get real,’ as he began thrusting his genitals,” Zervos said.
Zervos said she thought Trump was going to take her to dinner to discuss a job, but the meeting took place in his bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where he later ordered a club sandwich for them to share.
“I wondered if the sexual behavior was some kind of test and whether or not I had passed” by rejecting it, she said, but Trump later offered her a job at a golf course for half the salary she had requested.
Trump released a statement denying her allegations.
“I vaguely remember Ms. Zervos as one of the many contestants on ‘The Apprentice’ over the years. To be clear, I never met her at a hotel or greeted her inappropriately a decade ago,” Trump said. “That is not who I am as a person, and it is not how I’ve conducted my life.”
Separately, the Washington Post published an interview with a woman who said Trump put his hand up her skirt in a crowded New York nightclub in the early 1990s in an unwanted advance.
“He did touch my vagina through my underwear, absolutely,” Kristin Anderson said in a video interview on the newspaper’s website. “It wasn’t a sexual come-on. I don’t know why he did it. It was like just to prove that he could do it,” she told the newspaper. Anderson could not be reached for comment.
At a campaign rally on Friday, Trump denounced the allegations that several women have made about him in recent days, calling the women “sick” and saying the accusations were fabricated.
“I don’t know who these people are. I look on television, I think it’s a disgusting thing and it’s being pushed, they have no witnesses, there’s nobody around,” Trump said at the rally in Greensboro, North Carolina.
“Some are doing it for probably a little fame, they get some free fame. It’s a total set-up,” he said.
Trump’s White House campaign has been scrambling to recover from the release a week ago of a 2005 video in which he bragged in lewd terms about groping women and making unwanted sexual advances. While Trump said the video was just talk and he had never behaved in that way, several women subsequently went public with allegations of sexual misconduct against the New York real estate magnate going back three decades.