Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Thursday pushed back against new allegations from several women that he touched them inappropriately years ago, calling one story a “total fabrication” and saying another “did not happen.”
The New York Times reported Wednesday on two women, Jessica Leeds and Rachel Crooks, who accused Mr. Trump of unwanted touching and/or kissing.
Ms. Leeds, 74, said that about a decade ago, Mr. Trump grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt when he was sitting next to her on an airplane. Ms. Crooks said that in 2005, while she was working as a receptionist in Trump Tower, Mr. Trump kissed her directly on the mouth when they were introduced and that it felt like a violation.
“The phony story in the failing @nytimes is a TOTAL FABRICATION. Written by same people as last discredited story on women. WATCH!” Mr. Trump tweeted Thursday.
The Trump campaign had already dismissed the report as “fiction.” Early Thursday morning, the campaign also released a letter from a Trump attorney demanding a retraction and questioning why the women waited so long to come forward with their stories.
“We hereby demand that you immediately cease any further publication of this article, remove it from your website and issue a full and immediate retraction and apology,” wrote the attorney, Marc E. Kasowitz. “Failure to do so will leave my client with no option but to pursue all available actions and remedies.”
Other stories from women, including a People Magazine reporter, also surfaced Wednesday.
Natasha Stoynoff wrote that in December 2005, Mr. Trump forced himself on her at his Mar-a-Lago club and later propositioned her while awaiting Mr. Trump’s wife, a then-pregnant Melania Trump.
Mr. Trump denied the account.
“Why didn’t the writer of the twelve year old article in People Magazine mention the ‘incident’ in her story. Because it did not happen!” he tweeted.
Hope Hicks, a Trump campaign spokeswoman, said in a statement that “there is no merit or veracity to this fictional story.”
“Why wasn’t this reported at the time? Mr. Trump was the biggest star on television and surely this would have been a far bigger scoop for People magazine,” Ms. Hicks said. “She alleges this took place in a public space with people around. This is nothing but a politically motivated fictional pile-on.”
Ms. Stoynoff wrote in her account that she blamed herself and doubted her recollection at the time, saying she was afraid a powerful, wealthy man would “discredit and destroy” her.
And Ms. Leeds and Ms. Crooks told The New York Times they were upset by Mr. Trump’s comments Sunday that he had never actually acted on the things he talked about.
Another woman, Mindy McGillivray, told the Palm Beach Post she was groped by Mr. Trump at Mar-a-Lago 13 years ago, and that she yelled “you liar!” at the TV screen while watching Sunday’s debate.
Mr. Trump’s team also flatly denied Ms. McGillivray’s account.
Mr. Trump has taken incoming fire from Democrats and Republicans alike since the release of a 2005 tape last week in which he talks about leveraging celebrity status to force himself onto women.
“I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait,” Mr. Trump said in the “Access Hollywood” footage. “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything … grab them by the p—-y.”
Mr. Trump has apologized for what he called “locker room talk,” and said at the second presidential debate on Sunday that he has never actually done the things he had talked about on the video.
“That was an interesting apology,” Arianne Zucker, the soap opera actress who greeted Mr. Trump in the video shortly after the lewd comments, said in an interview that aired Thursday on NBC’s “Today” program.
“They are offensive comments for women, period — yes,” Ms. Zucker said, saying she’s ready to use the experience for “positivity.”
“I’m ready to use it for women to step forward and to do good things in my life and for other people,” she said.