The worldwide conspiracy is vast — so vast that most of the world’s scientists, journalists and political leaders are in on it. Somehow, in all this time, not a single one of the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of conspirators has grown a conscience and decided to blow the whistle on the conspiracy. Their goal? To ruin everything that right-wing America holds dear: the nuclear family, NFL football, needlessly enormous vehicles, the specials menu at Hooters.
To accomplish this dastardly goal, the conspiracy will fabricate a worldwide threat. They will falsify the data and use the power of institutions like governments and universities and scientific journals to perpetuate this hoax, tricking billions of people into believing this threat is real and needs a drastic response. The only people in the world who see through the hoax are right-wing Americans, of course, who know what lengths the “socialist left” will go to in order to destroy Mom and apple pie.
Coronavirus denialism has, in the period of a few short months, become one of the most serious political problems in our nation. It’s a major obstacle to both containing the virus and reviving the economy, which can’t happen until the virus is contained.
Coronavirus denialism isn’t just flourishing on social media, but emanating from both right-wing media and from Republican leaders, most notably Donald Trump. Over the weekend, the president declared that “99 percent” of coronavirus cases are “totally harmless,” a claim that isn’t just false but part of a larger pattern of Trump’s statements suggesting that the threat of the virus is being faked in order to harm him politically.
The rapid spread of this conspiracy theory is puzzling, especially as it requires many leaps of faith, including the belief that literally millions of professionals who don’t know each other — scientists, journalists, government employees, health care providers and so on — are working to perpetuate this hoax.
There’s a simple reason why right-wing America was so quick to rally around a conspiracy theory that’s so utterly preposterous. They spent years training themselves by indulging in climate-change denialism.
It’s not a stretch to say that climate-change denialism and coronavirus denialism are basically the same conspiracy theory. In fact, it often seems like coronavirus denialists have simply copied and pasted their talking points about climate change and adjusted the wording a bit to be about virus spread instead of carbon emissions.
But the basic parameters are the same: a worldwide conspiracy, threats that are invented or exaggerated for supposed political gain, a sinister hidden agenda — whether that’s bringing down capitalism or ending Trump’s presidency.
The content of coronavirus denialism can be somewhat diverse. This article from the New York Times chronicling the struggles of nurses to convince family and friends that the coronavirus is a real threat gives a good overview of the range of different flavors. Some folks insist the virus isn’t real at all. Some accept that it’s real but believe the danger of death or serious injury is being wildly exaggerated. Some deny that it’s as communicable as public health officials believe. Some claim that deaths from other causes are being falsely attributed to the virus.
We see the same kind of diversity in the world of climate-change denialism. At first, conservatives flat-out denied that climate change or “global warming” was even happening. But as evidence for changing temperatures grew, the flavors of denialism did too, with some denialists claiming it was just a natural fluctuation not attributable to humans, others saying that the effects wouldn’t be so bad, and still others saying it was too late to do anything about it so we should just give up.
What holds all these flavors of denialism together is the conspiracy theory undergirding them: The people raising the alarm about this problem are in cahoots with each other, and have ulterior motives.
Climate-change denialists have long held that progressives, and the scientists and world leaders who supposedly share their radical agenda, aren’t really concerned about species loss or rising sea levels or the devastating effects on poor people or any of that. Instead, they argue, these concerns are being faked to create a justification for an all-out assault on capitalism and “freedom.”
Similarly, coronavirus denialists argue that health care workers and scientists warning about the coronavirus are insincere, but instead are part of a larger — again, worldwide! — movement to take down Trump by making him look bad.
The rhetoric between the two forms of denialism is almost comically similar.
In September, Fox News host Laura Ingraham declared that teenage climate-change activists were part of a sinister plot to seize control of “our economy, our way of life, our way of transport, how many children you want to have.”
In May, she made the same arguments about recommendations to wear face masks to slow the coronavirus spread, claiming it was about “control over large populations” that is “achieved through fear and intimidation and suppression of free thought.”
In case the link wasn’t obvious, Ingraham made it herself, saying, “They’ll say this whole mask thing is settled science, just like they do with climate change.”
It’s not possible that both things are just settled science, of course. It’s all just a massive conspiracy!
It’s the same story with Fox News superstar Tucker Carlson, who argued last September that climate strikes are “not about the environment” but are a left-wing scam meant to create “an emergency big enough to justify grabbing more power.”
Both climate change and coronavirus denialism are given a boost by the tribalist politics of right-wing America. For decades now, one of the ways for conservatives to indicate their skepticism of climate change and fealty to the right was to buy giant, gas-guzzling SUVs and trucks, making quite clear to anyone looking that they don’t care one fig about your fears of carbon emission.
The same logic is driving the anti-mask phenomenon, where some of the most fiercely loyal Trump supporters make a big show out of refusing wear a mask, because they don’t care one fig about your fear of catching a potentially deadly virus.
It was clever of Trump and his media followers to encourage his supporters not to wear masks. That kind of showy public defiance has helped normalize coronavirus denialism, and exerted pressure on other conservatives to follow suit to show their tribal loyalties. It serves the same function as mocking people for driving fuel-efficient vehicles did, using peer pressure to get people on board with a right-wing conspiracy theory.
Unfortunately, as we’ve seen with climate-change conspiracy theories, once they take hold, it’s very hard to pry people free from their delusional beliefs. If you confront them with the evidence that the threat is real, they simply move to claiming it’s overblown. George Soros will probably be blamed. Or they’ll come up with excuses for why they personally won’t be affected and so shouldn’t care. Or they’ll just shift to casting aspersions on the motives of people who do care, whether that’s Greta Thunberg or Dr. Anthony Fauci, accusing them of being tools or power-hungry schemers. They’ll embrace any view, really, except admitting that the problem we’re all facing is real and that yes, we have to do something about it.
Donald Trump has called Jeffrey Epstein, pedophile and sex trafficker, a “terrific guy” and “a lot of fun to be with.” Epstein has been invited multiple times to the president’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida. Epstein’s personal address book, leaked in 2009, contained 14 phone numbers for Trump and members of his staff
For the better part of two decades starting in the late 1980s, Jeffrey Epstein and Donald Trump swam in the same social pool. They were neighbors in Florida. They jetted from LaGuardia to Palm Beach together. They partied at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club and dined at Epstein’s Manhattan mansion.
After Epstein’s arrest on sex trafficking charges, many who socialized with him — including Trump — were eager to have it known that they never much liked the man, or weren’t really friends, or barely even knew him.
Donald Trump once hosted a party with a guest list made up of just himself, Jeffrey Epstein, and “28 girls,” according to The New York Times, and ignored an organizer’s warning about Epstein’s conduct. The “calendar girl” event is reported to have taken place at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago in 1992. George Houraney, who ran American Dream Enterprise, claimed in an interview that he organized the event after a request from Trump. “I arranged to have some contestants fly in,” said Houraney. “At the very first party, I said, ‘Who’s coming tonight? I have 28 girls coming.’ It was him and Epstein.” Houraney added that he warned Trump about his friend’s conduct, recalling: “I said, ‘Look, Donald, I know Jeff really well, I can’t have him going after younger girls.’… He said, ‘Look I’m putting my name on this. I wouldn’t put my name on it and have a scandal.’”
The Times report also claims Epstein has told people since the election that he was the one who introduced the president to his third wife, first lady Melania Trump. The White House didn’t respond to the newspaper’s request for comment.
Epstein liked to tell people that he’s a loner, a man who’s never touched alcohol or drugs, and one whose nightlife is far from energetic. And yet if you talk to Donald Trump, a different Epstein emerges. “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy,” Trump booms from a speakerphone. “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”
In late April 2016, rumors began to circulate online holding that Republican presidential Donald Trump had either been sued over, or arrested for, raping a teenaged girl. One of the earliest versions of the rumor was published on 2 May 2016 by the Winning Democrats web site, which reported that woman using the name Katie Johnson had named Trump and billionaire Jeffrey Epstein in a $100 million lawsuit, accusing them of having solicited sex acts from her at sex parties held at the Manhattan homes of Epstein and Trump back in 1994 (when Johnson was just 13 years old):
The first major scandal to hit the Trump campaign came from a lawsuit stemming from the infamous sex parties held by billionaire Jeffrey Epstein. The woman named in the suit is Katie Johnson, who says Trump took her virginity in 1994 when she was only 13 and being held by Epstein as a slave.
Johnson says in the complaint that Trump and Epstein threatened her and her family with bodily harm if she didn’t comply with all of their disgusting demands. A copy of the California lawsuit (filed on 26 April 2016) shared via the Scribd web site outlined the allegations, which included the accusation that Trump and Epstein had (over 20 years earlier) “sexually and physically” abused the then 13-year-old plaintiff and forced her “to engage in various perverted and depraved sex acts” — including being “forced to manually stimulate Defendant Trump with the use of her hand upon Defendant Trump’s erect penis until he reached sexual orgasm,” and being “forced to engage in an unnatural lesbian sex act with her fellow minor and sex slave, Maria Doe, age 12, for the sexual enjoyment of Defendant Trump” — after luring her to a “series of underage sex parties” by promising her “money and a modeling career”:
A federal lawsuit filed in New York accuses Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump of repeatedly raping a 13-year-old girl more than 20 years ago, at several Upper East Side parties hosted by convicted sex offender and notorious billionaire investor Jeffrey Epstein.
The suit, first reported by the Real Deal, accuses Trump and Epstein of luring the anonymous plaintiff and other young women to four parties at Epstein’s so-called Wexner Mansion at 9 East 71st Street. Epstein allegedly lured the plaintiff, identified in the suit only as Jane Doe, with promises of a modeling career and cash.
Another anonymous woman, identified in additional testimony as Tiffany Doe, corroborates Jane’s allegations, testifying that she met Epstein at Port Authority, where he hired her to recruit other young girls for his parties. Trump had known Epstein for seven years in 1994 when he attended the parties at Wexner, according to the suit. He also allegedly knew that the plaintiff was 13 years old.
Jane Doe filed a similar suit in California in April, under the name Katie Johnson, also accusing Trump and Epstein of rape. That suit was dismissed on the grounds of improper paperwork — the address affiliated with her name was found to be abandoned. Today’s suit confirms that the plaintiffs are one and the same.
The online outlet that first reported the second filing in New York explained that the lawsuit might be allowed to proceed even though the statute of limitations for bringing suit has expired, because (according to plaintiff’s lawyer) the plaintiff lacked the “freedom of will to institute suit earlier in time” due to her having been threatened by Trump:
It should be noted that anyone can file a civil complaint in federal court. The statute of limitations in New York for civil rape cases is five years, but [the] complaint argues that the time limit should be waived, noting that the plaintiff was too frightened to report the abuse because Trump had threatened that if she did “her family would be physically harmed if not killed.”
“Both defendants let plaintiff know that each was a very wealthy, powerful man and indicated that they had the power, ability and means to carry out their threats,” the complaint claims.
A copy of the New York-based suit was also uploaded to Scribd, and in the second filing (which asked for no specific amount of monetary damages) the plaintiff was represented by Thomas Francis Meagher, a New Jersey patent lawyer who learned of her allegations via an article published on the GossipExtra web site advertising that she was “shopping for an attorney.” In a statement attached to her filing, the plaintiff (aka “Jane Doe”) asserted:
I traveled by bus to New York City in June 1994 in the hope of starting a modeling career. I went to several modeling agencies but was told that I needed to put together a modeling portfolio before I would be considered. I then went to the Port Authority in New York City to start to make my way back home. There I met a woman who introduced herself to me as Tiffany. She told me about the parties and said that, if I would join her at the parties, I would be introduced to people who could get me into the modeling profession. Tiffany also told me I would be paid for attending.
The parties were held at a New York City residence that was being used by Defendant Jeffrey Epstein. Each of the parties had other minor females and a number of guests of Mr. Epstein, including Defendant Donald Trump at four of the parties I attended. I understood that both Mr. Trump and Mr. Epstein knew I was 13 years old.
Defendant Trump had sexual contact with me at four different parties in the summer of 1994. On the fourth and fnial sexual encounter with Defendant Trump, Defendant Trump tied me to a bed, exposed himself to me, and then proceeded to forcibly rape me. During the course of this savage sexual attack, I loudly pleaded with Defendant Trump to stop but he did not. Defendant Trump responded to my pleas by violently striking me in the face with his open hand and screaming that he would do whatever he wanted,
Immediately following this rape, Defendant Trump threatened me that, were I ever to reveal any of the details of Defendant Trump’s sexual and physical abuse of me, my family and I wold be physically harmed if not killed.
The filing also included a statement from “Tiffany Doe” (i.e., the woman referenced in plaintiff’s statement above who brought her to the parties) attesting that:
I personally witnessed four sexual encounters that the Plaintiff was forced to have with Mr. Trump during this period, including the fourth of these encounters where Mr. Trump forcibly raped her despite her pleas to stop.
I personally witnessed the one occasion where Mr. Trump forced the Plaintiff and a 12-year-old female named Maria [to] perform oral sex on Mr. Trump and witnessed his physical abuse of both minors when they finished the act.
It was my job to personally witness and supervise encounters between the underage girls that Mr. Epstein hired and his guests.
A video reportedly featuring “Katie Johnson” (her identity hidden through the use of facial pixillation, a long blonde wig, and an electronic voice distorter) appeared online, in which she graphically described giving Donald Trump a hand job and being raped by him:
What Happened to the 20 Women Who Accused Trump of Sexual Misconduct
This post was originally published in November 2017. It has been updated with additional harassment claims and public statements from Trump’s accusers.
As more and more powerful public figures have been accused of sexual harassment and abuse over the past year and a half, there’s one person whose alleged sexual misconduct seems simultaneously ever present, and yet grossly overlooked.
Some have argued that there would be no #MeToo movement if Donald Trump had not been elected, despite being accused of various forms of misconduct, from groping to rape. After the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke in October 2017 some of Trump’s accusers said they were happy sexual harassment was finally being discussed more openly, while others were dismayed that their own stories seemed to have little impact.
A defamation suit filed by Summer Zervos, which is still winding its way through the courts, opened up the possibility that Trump’s accusers will get their day in court. Some of the women have continued speaking out, hoping that away from the chaos of the election, people might be more willing to listen to their accounts. Meanwhile, new accusers have come forward. On Monday a staffer on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign filed a lawsuit claiming that he kissed her without her consent while they were on the campaign trail.
For now, Trump seems entirely unfazed by the allegations hanging over him. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders has said that it is the White House’s official position that every single one of the women is lying, and Trump has not shied away from condemning other men accused of sexual misconduct (if they’re Democrats).
Here’s a reminder of what behavior the president has been accused of, organized by when the alleged incident occurred. It includes, when available, an update on how the women have continued trying to make their stories heard.
Jessica Leeds (early 1980s)
The allegation: Leeds said Trump grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt when she was seated next to him in first class on a flight in the early 1980s. “He was like an octopus,” she said. “His hands were everywhere.”
Afterward, she fled to the back of the plane. “It was an assault,” she said.
After Leeds went public, Trump mocked her at a campaign rally, suggesting she wasn’t attractive enough to sexually harass. “Yeah, I’m gonna go after — believe me, she would not be my first choice, that I can tell you,” he said.
Since then: “It is hard to reconcile that Harvey Weinstein could be brought down with this, and [President] Trump just continues to be the Teflon Don,” Leeds told the Washington Post a year after she first came forward.
In December 2017, Leeds and several other Trump accusers held a press conference and appeared on Megyn Kelly Today. She recalled that she encountered Trump at a fundraising gala in New York three years after the airplane incident. “And he says, ‘I remember you, you were that [she does air quotes] woman from the airplane.’ He called me the worst name ever.” She confirmed to Kelly that the word was “cunt.”TODAY✔@TODAYshow
WATCH: “He called me the worst name ever.” Jessica Leeds recalls meeting Trump a few years after alleged groping incident on plane
Leeds also said she would be interested in providing a deposition in the Zervos defamation suit. “I would do it — I’m not afraid,” Leeds said.
Ivana Trump (1989)
The allegation: In her 1990 divorce deposition, Ivana Trump accused her soon-to-be ex-husband of raping her in a fit of rage the previous year. Harry Hurt III obtained the papers, and described Ivana’s account in his 1993 book Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump. According to Hurt, Ivana said her husband raped her after a doctor she recommended gave him an unexpectedly painful “scalp reduction” operation to eliminate a bald spot. Hurt said Ivana described her husband yanking out a handful of her hair, holding her hands back, and tearing her clothing.
“Then he jams his penis inside her for the first time in more than 16 months. Ivana is terrified … It is a violent assault,” Hurt wrote. “According to versions she repeats to some of her closest confidantes, ‘he raped me.’”
Kristin Anderson (early 1990s)
The allegation: Anderson claimed that while she was out at a New York club with friends in the early 1990s, someone slid his hand under her miniskirt and touched her vagina through her underwear. She turned around a recognized him as Donald Trump.
“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 and nothing would happen,” Anderson said. “There was zero conversation. We didn’t even really look at each other. It was very random, very nonchalant on his part.”
Since then: Anderson is mentioned in the Zervos lawsuit, but has not discussed her claim publicly since the election.
Jill Harth (1993)
The allegation: Harth claimed that Trump made repeated unwanted sexual advances as she and her romantic partner at the time, George Houraney, pursued a business relationship with the mogul in the early 1990s. She said that on January 24, 1993, at Mar-a-Lago, Trump offered her a tour of the estate, then pulled her into his daughter Ivanka’s empty bedroom.
“He pushed me up against the wall, and had his hands all over me and tried to get up my dress again,” Harth said, “and I had to physically say: ‘What are you doing? Stop it.’ It was a shocking thing to have him do this because he knew I was with George, he knew they were in the next room. And how could he be doing this when I’m there for business?”
In 1997 Harth and Houraney sued Trump for breach of contract, and she filed a separate sexual-harassment suit, accusing him of “attempted rape.” They reached a confidential settlement in the contract suit, and as part of the agreement Harth withdrew her suit.
Since then: Harth repeatedly defended her attorney, Lisa Bloom, after she was criticized for guiding Weinstein through his disastrous response to his sexual-misconduct allegations. Bloom set up a GoFundMe for her client, which has only raised $2,582 of its $10,000 goal.
Harth tweeted about Trump several times, then said in October that she would stop discussing him online. Harth said she might write a book someday, as she felt the “press has distorted facts pitifully.”Jill Harth@jillharthReplying to @LisaBloom
Lisa Boyne (mid-1990s)
The allegation: Lisa Boyne said a mutual friend invited her to dinner with Trump in the mid-1990s. She claims she was picked up in Trump’s limousine, and during the ride he made disparaging comments about women he’d slept with or wanted to sleep with. Boyne said that during the dinner, several models were called over and instructed to walk over the table to Trump.
“As the women walked across the table, Donald Trump would look up under their skirt and comment on whether they had underwear or didn’t have underwear and what the view looked like,” Boyne said.
“It was the most offensive scene I’ve ever been a part of,” Boyne added. She said she claimed she wasn’t feeling well and left the restaurant.
Since then: In December 2017, Boyne joined a press conference with several other Trump accusers via speakerphone. “This isn’t how we should teach our boys to talk … It’s horrendous,” Boyne said, referring to the Access Hollywood tape. “[We should] demand that Donald Trump step down like Al Franken. Because what he’s acknowledged, what he’s made appropriate culturally is a thousand times worse than anything Al Franken has done.”
Boyne – along with fellow Trump accusers Rachel Crooks, Samantha Holvey, Jessica Leeds, Melinda McGillivray, Natasha Stoynoff, Temple Taggart, and Karena Virginia – put out a statement in September 2018 supporting the women accusing then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.
“Trump has dismissed our claims, lied about his conduct, and attacked us. Now he’s painting with the same brush to salvage the Kavanaugh nomination,” the statement said. “It’s a standard move from his playbook.”
Miss Teen USA Contestants (1997)
The allegation: Five women who competed in the 1997 Miss Teen USA claimed Trump, who owned the pageant, walked in on them while they were changing.
“It was certainly the most inappropriate time to meet us all for the first time,” said Victoria Hughes, the former Miss New Mexico Teen USA. “The youngest girl was 15, and I was the eldest at 19.”
On The Howard Stern Show, Trump admitted to “inspecting” the contestants backstage. It wasn’t clear if he was referring to the Miss USA pageant, or the contest for teens.
“You know, I’m inspecting because I want to make sure that everything is good,” he said. “You know, the dresses. ‘Is everyone okay?’ You know, they’re standing there with no clothes. ‘Is everybody okay?’ And you see these incredible-looking women, and so, I sort of get away with things like that.”
Since then: In October 2017 Candace Smith, a former Miss Ohio USA, said Trump was in the dressing room when she competed in the 2003 Miss USA Pageant (not the teen pageant).
Can you ask @KellyannePolls why Trump was even in my dressing room at Miss USA? I’m just trying to under the purpose— Candace Smith (@TheCandaceSmith) October 11, 2017
Exactly! He would prey on the ones who lost so he could promise them help with their careers. I know girls he flew to NY to stay at Trump— Candace Smith (@TheCandaceSmith) October 12, 2017
Temple Taggart McDowell (1997)
The allegation: McDowell, who represented Utah as a 21-year-old in the 1997 Miss USA pageant, said Trump immediately kissed her when they were introduced during a rehearsal. “He kissed me directly on the lips,” she said. “I thought, ‘Oh my God, gross.’ He was married to Marla Maples at the time. I think there were a few other girls that he kissed on the mouth. I was like ‘Wow, that’s inappropriate.’”
Since then: Taggart and three other Trump accusers — Summer Zervos, Jessica Drake, and Rachel Crooks — held a press conference in D.C. just before they protested in the Women’s March on Washington in 2017. “I want my children to see that I am willing to face my fears head on, with the hope that I might not only bring about a positive change in others, but also instill in them a similar strength,” Taggart said.
Cathy Heller (1997)
The allegation: Heller says she received an unwanted kiss from Trump when they were introduced at a Mother’s Day brunch at Mar-a-Lago. The incident occurred in front of her family. The Guardianreported:
“He took my hand, and grabbed me, and went for the lips,” she claimed.
Alarmed, she said she leaned backwards to avoid him and almost lost her balance. “And he said, ‘Oh, come on.’ He was strong. And he grabbed me and went for my mouth and went for my lips.” She turned her head, she claims, and Trump planted a kiss on the side of her mouth. “He kept me there for a little too long,” Heller said. “And then he just walked away.”
Since then: Heller attended the Women’s March on Washington on the day after Trump’s inauguration, rallying 43 people to reserve an entire train car from New York. “I like to think I’d be at a march in Washington, or at least locally in New York, even if it hadn’t happened to me,” she said.
Today she’s dismayed that despite all the sexual-harassment claims against Trump, “nothing stuck.” She told the Washington Post in October 2017 that she thinks things might have been different for Weinstein because his accusers were famous.
“A lot of them were actresses we’ve all heard of,” Heller said. “When it’s a celebrity, it has more weight than just someone who he met at Mar-a-Lago or a beauty-pageant contestant. They’re not people we’ve heard of. And that, in our society, has much more weight because they’re famous.”
Karena Virginia (1998)
The allegation: Virginia said she encountered Trump while she was waiting for a car service to pick her up from the U.S. Open tennis tournament in Queens. She overheard him making comments about her to other men. “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.
“He then walked up to me and reached his right arm and grabbed my right arm, then his hand touched the right inside of my breast. I was in shock. I flinched,” she continued.
Trump then asked her, “Don’t you know who I am? Don’t you know who I am?” she said.
Virginia, who co-signed the statement supporting Kavanaugh’s accusers, was profiled by the New Yorker in November 2018. She told the magazine that she received death threats after coming forward, and still felt guilty about how people interpreted her tears during her press conference.
“People told me, ‘Don’t you understand that there are women out there who are raped?’ ” she said. “But that was exactly why I was crying! I wasn’t crying because some man touched my breast. I was crying because I could feel the weight of this sadness and silence eating away at women all over the country. I was crying because this world is so full of dysfunction, because millions of women and men have lived in shame because of things other people did to them. I cried because I was thinking about them.”
Mindy McGillivray (2003)
The allegation: McGillivray said she was assisting photographer Ken Davidoff, who was taking photos during a Ray Charles concert at Mar-a-Lago, when Trump groped her butt. “I think it’s Ken’s camera bag, that was my first instinct. I turn around and there’s Donald. He sort of looked away quickly. I quickly turned back, facing Ray Charles, and I’m stunned.’’
Davidoff said moments later, McGillivray pulled him aside and said, ‘’Donald just grabbed my ass!’’
Since then: In October 2017, McGillivray told the Post that she was afraid of speaking out a year ago, but felt it was her patriotic duty. “What pisses me off is that the guy is president,” McGillivray said. “It’s that simple.”
Following the Roy Moore scandal, McGillivray said she was appalled that Republicans still weren’t acknowledging the allegations against the president. “It’s disturbing,” she toldPeople, “that many of Trump’s diehard supporters are so stubborn that they can’t seem to come to terms with the reality that their president is just as guilty as Roy Moore.”
Natasha Stoynoff (2005)
The allegation: The journalist claimed that Trump pushed her against a wall and forced his tongue down her throat while giving her a tour of Mar-a-Lago. Stoynoff was working on a profile of the Trumps, and said that while waiting for Melania to arrive for an interview, Donald told her, “You know we’re going to have an affair, don’t you?”
She said he also referenced a New York Post cover published during his affair with Marla Maples. “You remember,” he said. “‘Best Sex I Ever Had.’”
Since then: In November 2017, Stoynoff toldPeople she believes the allegations against Trump may have more power in the #MeToo era. “I feel this issue has been ‘on hold’ all year, but not forgotten,” Stoynoff said. “It’s been simmering on the stove with the lid on, like a pressure cooker. But now the heat’s on and it’s going to boil and the lid is going to blast off.”
Jennifer Murphy (2005)
The allegation: Murphy, a contestant in season four of The Apprentice, claimed Trump kissed her on the lips after a job interview. “He walked me to the elevator, and I said good-bye. I was thinking ‘Oh, he’s going to hug me’, but when he pulled my face in and gave me a smooch. I was like ‘Oh–kay.’ I didn’t know how to act. I was just a little taken aback and probably turned red. And I then I get into the elevator and thought ‘Huh, Donald Trump just kissed me on the lips.”’
Juliet Huddy (2005)
The accusation: In December 2017, former Fox News host Juliet Huddy said Trump kissed her on the lips after a business lunch. “He took me for lunch at Trump Tower, just us two,” she said on the radio show Mornin!!! With Bill Schulz. “He said good-bye to me in an elevator while his security guy was there’ rather than kiss me on the cheek he leaned in to kiss me on the lips. I wasn’t offended, I was kind of like, ‘Oh my god.’” She said she was “surprised” but “didn’t feel threatened.”
Huddy said that when Trump appeared on her Fox News show several years later, he joked to producers and audience members about making a pass at her, saying “I tried hitting on her but she blew me off.” Huddy said at the time she wasn’t offended by Trump’s kiss, but her view of the incident has changed. “Now I have matured I think I would say, ‘Woah, no,’ but at the time I was younger and I was a little shocked,” she said. “I thought maybe he didn’t mean to do it, but I was kind of making excuses.”
Rachel Crooks (2005)
The allegation: Crooks encountered Trump outside an elevator in Trump Tower in 2005. At the time she was a 22-year-old receptionist at Bayrock Group, a real-estate investment and development company. She said she introduced herself and shook Trump’s hand, but he wouldn’t let go. He started kissing her cheeks and then “kissed me 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.”
Since then: In November 2017, Crooks told the Times that she’s heartened to see sexual-harassment allegations being taken more seriously post-Weinstein, but sees a contrast in the response to Trump’s accusers. “You do wonder,” Crooks said, “how can the country forget about us?”
Crooks was among the women who renewed their allegations against Trump in a December 2017 press conference.
On Megyn Kelly Today, Crooks said some have questioned why the incident wasn’t captured by security cameras, and she wonders the same thing.
“Yes, where is that? Let’s get that out because I would love for that to be made public,” she said. “He owns the building, I doubt that’s going to happen, but I’d be more than happy to let that surface.”
Crooks ran for a seat in Ohio’s legislature in the 2018 midterms, but lost to the Republican incumbent.
Samantha Holvey (2006)
The allegation: Holvey, the 2006 Miss North Carolina, said Trump personally inspected each contestant at an event in New York about a month before the pageant. “He would step in front of each girl and look you over from head to toe like we were just meat, we were just sexual objects, that we were not people,” Holvey said. “You know when a gross guy at the bar is checking you out? It’s that feeling.”
Holvey, who was 20 at the time, also recalled Trump and his wife, Melania, entering a dressing room where other contestants were getting ready during the pageant. Most were wearing robes. “I thought it was entirely inappropriate,” Holvey said. “I told my mom about it. I was disgusted by the entire thing. I had no desire to win when I understood what it was all about.”
Since then: In December 2017,Holvey repeated her story at a press conference with several other women, and was interviewed by Megyn Kelly and Erin Burnett.
“It was heartbreaking last year,” Holvey told Kelly. “We’re private citizens and for us to put ourselves out there to try and show America who this man is and how he views women, and for them to say ‘Eh, we don’t care,’ it hurt.”
Ninni Laaksonen (2006)
The allegation: Laaksonen, a former Miss Finland, said Trump grabbed her butt while they were being photographed before an appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman. “Trump stood right next to me and suddenly he squeezed my butt. He really grabbed my butt,” she said. “I don’t think anybody saw it but I flinched and thought: ‘What is happening?’”
Jessica Drake (2006)
The allegation: Drake, an adult film performer and director, said she and two friends went to Trump’s hotel room after meeting him at a golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, California. “He grabbed each of us tightly, in a hug and kissed each one of us without asking permission,” she said.
She said they left about a half-hour later; then Trump called her and invited her to go to dinner or a party with him. When she declined, he asked, “What do you want? How much?” She said she received a second call offering her $10,000 and the use of Trump’s private jet if she agreed to sleep with him.
Since then: Drake was among the four accusers who held a press conference on the day of the Women’s March on Washington in 2017.
“Like many, I am horrified by the potential upcoming administration and fear the consequences it will have,” she said in January. “I want to use my platform to speak for others who cannot and join voices with those who can and who march with me here today.”
Summer Zervos (2007)
The allegation: Zervos, a contestant on the fifth season of The Apprentice, said she approached Trump about a potential job at his company. She claimed that during their first meeting at Trump Tower, he kissed her twice on the mouth and asked for her phone number.
Weeks later, he invited her to meet him at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles. She was escorted to Trump’s room, and said he asked her to sit next to him. “He then grabbed my shoulder and began kissing me very aggressively and placed his hand on my breast,” she recalled. Zervos said she pushed Trump away and told him to stop.
“He then grabbed my hand and pulled me into the bedroom,” she said. “He grabbed me in an embrace, and I tried to push him away.”
Zervos said when she protested, Trump “repeated my words back to me as he began thrusting his genitals.”
She still sought employment at the Trump Organization and believed she wasn’t given a job because she rejected his advances.
Since then: Three days before Trump was inaugurated, Zervos filed a defamation suit against him. It alleges that in response to the accusations she made during the election, Trump “debased and denigrated Ms. Zervos with false statements about her,” referring to his claims that all of his accusers were liars looking for “ten minutes of fame.”
“In doing so, he used his national and international bully pulpit to make false factual statements to denigrate and verbally attack Ms. Zervos and the other women who publicly reported his sexual assaults in October 2016,” the lawsuit said.
The accusation: In June 2016, Searles, Miss Washington 2013, tagged her former competitors in a Facebook post that read: “Do y’all remember that one time we had to do our onstage introductions, but this one guy treated us like cattle and made us do it again because we didn’t look him in the eyes? Do you also remember when he then proceeded to have us lined up so he could get a closer look at his property?”
Many of the women said they did, and in one reply Searles added, “He probably doesn’t want me telling the story about that time he continually grabbed my ass and invited me to his hotel room.”
Alva Johnson (2016)
The accusation: In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Floria on Monday,Alva Johnson claimed that she experienced a pattern of “racial and gender discrimination” while working on Trump’s 2016 campaign, and received an unwanted kiss from the candidate. Per the New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow:
The incident in which Johnson said that Trump kissed her occurred during an event that she had helped organize in Tampa in August, 2016, according to the complaint. In an R.V. before Trump’s speech at the event, the complaint alleges, Trump took Johnson by the hand and leaned in to kiss her; she attempted to turn away, but, she claims, his mouth made contact with the corner of hers.
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders called the claim “absurd on its face” and noted that two prominent Trump supporters that Johnson identified as witnesses denied seeing the kiss.
Johnson said she has been thinking about coming forward since the Access Hollywood video became public in October 2016.
“I’ve tried to let it go,” she told the Washington Post. “You want to move on with your life. I don’t sleep. I wake up at 4 in the morning looking at the news. I feel guilty. The only thing I did was show up for work one day.”