In the last 24 hours, four women have now stepped forward publicly to challenge Donald Trump’s statement at the second presidential debate that he did not kiss or grab women as he had boasted on the leaked Access Hollywood tape from 2005.
Natasha Stoynoff, a reporter with People Magazine, published a detailed account late last night of how Trump forced himself on her when she’d gone to his resort to interview him for a piece. In December 2005, Stoynoff traveled to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate to speak to him and his wife, Melania, for a feature on their first wedding anniversary. The interview went well and afterward, while Melania went to change her wardrobe for more photos, Trump volunteered to take Stoynoff on a tour of the mansion. “There was one ‘tremendous’ room in particular, he said, that I just had to see,” she recalled. Within seconds of entering that room, Trump pushed her against the wall and forced his tongue down her throat.
“Now, I’m a tall, strapping girl who grew up wrestling two giant brothers. I even once sparred with Mike Tyson. It takes a lot to push me. But Trump is much bigger––a looming figure––and he was fast, taking me by surprise and throwing me off balance. I was stunned.” Stoynoff was grateful when Trump’s longtime butler came in to inform them that “Melania would be down shortly.” After the butler left, Trump boasted: “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. We’re going to have an affair, I’m telling you.”
Stoynoff left for the airport the following day, but not before keeping her appointment with a massage therapist at the Mar-a-Lago spa. She arrived late, and she offered to pay the therapist his full hourly rate for a 30-minute session. The therapist told her that Trump had waited for her in the massage room for 15 minutes before he had to leave for a meeting. Stoynoff decided against reporting the incident to her managing editor. “[But] like many women, I was ashamed and blamed myself for his transgression. I minimized it (“It’s not like he raped me…”); I doubted my recollection and my reaction,” she wrote. “I was afraid that a famous, powerful, wealthy man could and would discredit and destroy me, especially if I got his coveted People feature killed.”
A second woman, Mindy McGillivray, told the Palm Beach Postthat Trump groped her backstage at a Ray Charles concert in 2003. She never reported it to the authorities. “Ray already performed. He’s ready to leave. He’s saying his goodbyes to everyone,’’ McGillivray recalled. “All of a sudden I felt a grab, a little nudge. 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.’’
McGillivray’s friend, official Trump photographer Ken Davidoff, remembered the moment McGillivray took him aside to tell him, “Donald just grabbed my ass!” Though he did not witness the incident, he said he does not doubt McGillivray’s honesty. McGillivray kept relatively quiet about the incident for years, only speaking up more after Trump entered the presidential race. McGillivray supported Bernie Sanders in the primaries, but says she intends to vote for Hillary Clinton in the upcoming election. “It’s important “to set a good example for my daughter,’’ she said. “It’s a respect issue for all women. If something like this happens to you, you should speak up.’’
McGillivray’s account is in addition to the detailed accounts of two women interviewed by the New York Times who came forward yesterday and whose stories were corroborated by friends interviewed by the paper.
Jessica Leeds, a retired businesswoman, remembered the moment Trump groped her as he sat beside her in the first-class cabin of a flight to New York three decades ago. They had never met before. About 45 minutes after takeoff, Trump lifted the armrest, grabbed her breasts,