Donald Trump accusers say his actions can't be swept under the rug any longer, and a New York senator calls for his immediate resignation over "heartbreaking" testimony.
Three women fronted a news conference on Monday to detail the ways in which Donald Trump made inappropriate sexual advances towards them, as they pursue a congressional investigation into his behaviour.
The accusers Rachel Crooks, Samantha Holvey and Jessica Leeds spoke of being groped, fondled and forcibly kissed by Mr Trump before he became President of the United States.
Ms Leeds told Megyn Kelly that she was invited into first class on a plane while she was working as a travelling saleswoman during the 1970s, and was seated next to a man who she didn’t know at the time was Donald Trump.
“All of a sudden, he’s all over me. Kissing and groping, groping and kissing,” she said.
“Nothing was said… It was just this silent groping going on.
“When his hands started going up my skirt, I’m not a small person, I managed to wriggle out and stand up, grab my purse and I went to the back of the aeroplane.
“I didn’t tell anyone then. I just thought, that’s some creep on the aeroplane.”
Ms Crooks — a former receptionist at a real estate firm — said “[Trump] held onto my hand, but then he kept kissing me,” she told Ms Kelly. “Kissing me again, and again, and again…
“He kissed me on the lips, and I was shocked. Yeah, I mean, devastated. It happened so fast. I wish I would have been courageous enough to be like, what’s going on, you need to stop this.”
She then used the press conference to demand Mr Trump be forced to face up to the allegations.
She implored Congress to “put aside their party affiliations and investigate Mr Trump’s history of sexual misconduct”. Former Miss North Carolina Samantha Holvey added: “They’ve investigated other Congress members so I think it only stands fair that he be investigated as well.”
Ms Crooks pointed to video evidence as proof that their accusations should be met with as much seriousness as those made against the likes of now disgraced Hollywood personalities Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey.
“The ‘Me too’ movement has found momentum and women have found the strength in one another and the courage to come forward leading many powerful men to suffer the consequences of their actions,” she said.
“Trump however has escaped his path unscathed but over a dozen women have come forward about his sexual misconduct. And we have video proof of him promoting such behaviour.
“In an objective setting without question a person with this record would have entered the graveyard of political aspirations never to return — yet here we are with that man as President.
“I want to believe as Americans we can put aside our political inclinations and admit that some things in fact do transcend politics, that we will hold Mr Trump to the same standard as Harvey Weinstein and the other men held accountable for their reprehensible behaviour.”
I want to believe as Americans… that we will hold Mr Trump to the same standard as Harvey Weinstein and the other men held accountable for their reprehensible behaviour.
Brave New Films, a not-for-profit filmmaker, organised the New York news conference to promote a video it has produced featuring 16 of Mr Trump’s accusers.
A White House spokesperson said “eye-witness accounts” debunk the accusations.
“These false claims, totally disputed in most cases by eyewitness accounts, were addressed at length during last year’s campaign, and the American people voiced their judgment by delivering a decisive victory.”
Mr Trump has long denied being inappropriate with women, despite the infamous video (below) emerging of the President saying he could get away with sexually assaulting women because he was famous.
During the 2016 Presidential Election he said he would take legal action against his 10 accusers. “All of these liars will be sued when the election is over,” he said at the time.
Senator calls for the President to stand down
Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York told CNN on Monday that Donald Trump should resign over the sexual assault allegations.
“President Trump has committed assault, according to these women, and those are very credible allegations of misconduct and criminal activity, and he should be fully investigated and he should resign,” she told Christiane Amanpour exclusively.
“These allegations are credible; they are numerous. I’ve heard these women’s testimony, and many of them are heartbreaking.”