Several women who last year accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct before he was elected the US President have renewed their allegations publicly as they detailed their accounts of being groped, fondled and forcibly kissed by him.
The accusers were among more than a dozen who had initially come forward during the 2016 presidential campaign. They reinvigorated their stories on Megyn Kelly’s NBC show on Monday and a subsequent news conference in Manhattan, in which they also called on Congress to investigate their claims, the Washington Post reported.
The women expressed hope that now they would be taken more seriously after a torrent of similar accusations had toppled the careers of powerful men in the news media, business and politics.
“Now it’s just like, ‘All right let’s try Round 2, the environment is different, let’s try again’,” Samantha Holvey, the former Miss North Carolina 2006, said on the NBC programme. She repeated her charge that Trump ogled her and other women during the pageant.
Holvey was joined by Jessica Leeds, who said Trump groped and kissed her during a flight in the 1970s, and Rachel Crooks, who accused Trump of repeatedly kissing her without her consent in 2005.
“This was serial misconduct and perversion on the part of Trump… The only reason I am here today is that this offender is now the President of our country,” said Crooks, a former Bayrock Group receptionist.
Lisa Boyne, a fourth accuser, joined the women at a news conference hosted by Brave New Films, a documentary film company.
At least 15 women have come forward with a wide range of accusations against Trump, ranging from sexual harassment to lewd behaviour around women.
In addition to the women at Monday’s press conference, Trump’s accusers include Temple Taggart, the former Miss Utah USA who accused Trump of kissing her on the lips in 1997; Mindy McGillivray, who accused Trump of grabbing her behind at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida in 2003 and Natasha Stoynoff, who accused Trump of “forcing his tongue” down her throat in 2005.
White House repeated the President’s claim that the accusations of sexual misconduct were false and that the women were lying. “The President has… said that these allegations are false,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.
“This took place long before he was elected to be President,” Sanders said. “And the people of this country at a decisive election supported President Trump… These allegations have been answered through that process.”
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat, added her name to a list of Democratic lawmakers who called on Trump to resign.
Senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat, called on Trump to step down because of a track record of “horrific conduct” with women. Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent, also urged him to consider resigning.
On Sunday, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said that women who accuse a man of inappropriate sexual behaviour including Trump “should be heard”, CNN reported.
The women appeal came on the eve of a closely fought special US Senate election in Alabama, where Roy Moore, the Republican nominee whom Trump endorsed, is facing multiple accusations of sexual misconduct,
Moore has denied all the allegations and Trump has stood by Moore despite the accusations.