Two women have accused the US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump of inappropriately touching them in the past, according to a report published on The New York Times website on Wednesday. Trump has denied the allegations.
When asked if he had kissed women without permission or grabbed their genitals, he said, "No... I have not."
— Annemarie Weers (@AnnemarieWeers) October 13, 2016
The Trump campaign denied the claims in The New York Times report and called it "character assassination."
Thank you to all these brave women coming forward and speaking, putting themselves out there on the record. #Trump
— Mike Signorile (@MSignorile) October 13, 2016
Former businesswoman Jessica Leeds, 74, who worked for a paper company, told The New York Times that Trump groped her on a flight more than three decades ago as they sat next to each other in first class.
About 45 minutes after takeoff, the armrest "somehow disappeared" and Trump began grabbing her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt, Leeds said.
"His hands were all over me," she told the newspaper. "He was like an octopus."
"It was an assault," she said, describing the encounter that occurred when she was 38.
Rachel Crooks said she was a 22-year-old receptionist at a real estate company in Trump Tower in 2005 when she encountered Trump outside an elevator in the building one morning.
She said she introduced herself and shook his hand, but he would not let go. Trump began kissing her cheeks and then "kissed me directly on the mouth."
"It was so inappropriate," Crooks told the Times. "I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that."
Neither woman reported the incidents to law enforcement.
The New York Times spoke with friends and family of the two women, who corroborated their accounts and knew of the incidents before the "hot mic" video was released last week.
The Trump campaign called the article a political attack.
"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," senior communicators advisor Jason Miller said in a statement.
"To reach back decades in an attempt to smear Mr. Trump trivialises sexual assault, and it sets a new low for where the media is willing to go in its efforts to determine this election."
3 senior level sources confirm to ABC - Trump is drafting a lawsuit against the New York Times for defamation. 1 source tells me "it's war"
— John Santucci (@JTSantucci) October 13, 2016
The Times said Trump was highly agitated when questioned about the women's claims, denying them and saying "none of this ever took place."
The paper said he threatened to sue the news organisation if the report was published.
— Kent M. Zimmermann (@kentzimmermann) October 13, 2016
The report follows the release of a video from 2005, last Friday, in which Trump was caught on a "hot mic" bragging about groping women.
He apologised for the comments, dismissing it as "locker room" talk, but the issue came up on Sunday's presidential debate where he claimed he had never assaulted women.
As the news of the sexual assault claims spread, several more women came forward with the allegations that Trump had forcibly groped them or kissed them.
— Suzanne Tyrpak (@SuzanneTyrpak) October 13, 2016
so far, 12 women and 1 predatory octopus. #hishandswerealloverme
— Barbtail (@barbtail0) October 13, 2016
Some people took to twitter expressing their opinions on the issue with the hashtags LikeAnOctopus and HisHandsWereAllOverMe.
How long till #likeanoctopus is trending?
— madge (@gritreid) October 12, 2016
Shouldn't "His Hands Were All Over Me" be changed to "His Tiny Hands Were All Over Me"? #HisHandsWereAllOverMe
— Joel (@ilike2swimnakd2) October 13, 2016
Ok, so I hear we are up to 6 women now? Is there some reason all six of these women remained silent until NOW?
— Bill Mitchell (@mitchellvii) October 13, 2016