Donald Trump has been accused of sexual assault and sexual harassment, including non-consensual kissing or groping, by at least fifteen women since the 1980s. Those accusations have resulted in widely reported instances of litigation, including: his then-wife Ivana made a rape claim during their 1989 divorce litigation; businesswoman Jill Harth sued Trump in 1997 for nonviolent sexual harassment; and Summer Zervos, a contestant on the fifth season of The Apprentice, which filmed in 2005 and aired in 2006. Subsequently, she contacted Trump in 2007, about a job after the show’s completion, and he invited her to meet him at The Beverly Hills Hotel. Zervos has said that Trump was sexually suggestive during their meeting, kissing her open-mouthed, groping her breasts, and thrusting his genitals on her. She also has said that his behavior was aggressive and not consensual.
Among the other women who have claimed sexual assault or harassment, are:
Jessica Leeds (1980s)
In the early 1980s, Leeds was a businesswoman at a paper company on a flight from the Midwest, returning to New York. A flight attendant offered her an empty seat in the first-class cabin next to Trump. Leeds alleged that about 45 minutes after takeoff, Trump lifted the armrest and began touching her, grabbing her breasts, and tried to put his hand up her skirt. “He was like an octopus,” she said. “His hands were everywhere. It was an assault.” Leeds said she had sent a letter containing her allegations to the editor of The New York Times.
Trump publicly threatened to sue the Times over the newspaper’s publication of the allegation, and demanded a retraction. The Times rejected Trump’s retraction demand, and Trump never followed through on his threat to take legal action against the company.
Kristin Anderson (1990s)
On October 14, 2016, The Washington Post reported allegations by Kristin Anderson that Trump groped her beneath her skirt in a Manhattan nightclub in the early 1990s. An aspiring model at the time of the alleged incident, Anderson told the story to her friends, and decided to come forward after reading accounts of other women who had done so. Anderson said that the alleged assault occurred at the China Club, a Manhattan nightclub that Newsday referred to as “Donald’s Monday-night nest” due to his alleged habit of picking up women there.
Cathy Heller (1997)
In February 2016, Cathy Heller was interviewed off the record for an article for The Guardian in which she recounted how she was grabbed and kissed by Donald Trump two decades earlier. Heller reports that, in 1997, she met Trump when she attended a Mother’s Day brunch with her children, her husband, and her husband’s parents at his Mar-a-Lago estate. Her parents-in-law were members of Mar-a-Lago. Heller was introduced to Trump, who became angry when she avoided a kiss. He then “grabbed” her and, when he tried to kiss her, she turned her head. Trump kissed her on the side of the mouth “for a little too long” and then he left her.
Heller’s husband and children, who were present during the event, have corroborated her account.
Trump campaign spokesperson Jason Miller stated that Heller’s account is “false” and “politically motivated”.
Temple Taggart McDowell (1997)
Temple Taggart McDowell, Miss Utah USA in 1997, publicly accused Trump of unwanted kisses and embraces that left McDowell and one of her chaperones so uncomfortable, according to McDowell, that she claimed she was instructed not to be left in a room alone with him again. According to McDowell, a chaperone had accompanied her to Trump’s office. At the time, McDowell was 21. This incident occurred in Trump’s first year of ownership of the Miss USA contest.
McDowell told her story initially to The New York Times in May 2016 which was published in the “Crossing the Line: How Donald Trump Behaved With Women in Private” article. She had not intended to speak publicly about the incidents again, but she received numerous calls due to the “Crossing the Line” article and felt, as a mother, that it is important to share a message about unwanted advances: “You have the right to say no. You have the right to get out of there. You have the right to leave, and you have the right to make them feel uncomfortable if they’re making you feel uncomfortable,” she said. Trump stated that he does not know her and denied McDowell’s claims.
Karena Virginia (1998)
At an October 2016 press conference, yoga instructor Karena Virginia stated that in 1998, Trump grabbed her arm and touched her breast. Virginia, who was 27 years old at the time, was waiting for a ride after the US Open in Queens, New York. She stated that Trump, whom she had not met previously, approached her with a small group of other men, while commenting on her legs, then he grabbed her right arm. Virginia continued, “Then his hand touched the right side of my breast. I was in shock. I flinched. ‘Don’t you know who I am? Don’t you know who I am?’ – that’s what he said to me. I felt intimidated and I felt powerless.”
Zervos has said that Trump was sexually suggestive during their meeting, kissing her open-mouthed, groping her breasts, and thrusting his genitals on her. She also has said that his behavior was aggressive and not consensual.
Mindy McGillivray (2003)
In an article by The Palm Beach Post, Mindy McGillivray stated that in January 2003, when she was 23 years old, she was groped by Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate. She said, “All of a sudden I felt a grab, a little nudge. I think it’s [my friend Ken Davidoff’s] camera bag, that was my first instinct. I turn around and there’s Donald. He sort of looked away quickly.” Ken Davidoff, a photographer, corroborated McGillivray’s account, saying he remembered her pulling him aside moments after the alleged incident to say “Donald just grabbed my ass!”
McGillivray said that she “chose to stay quiet” and never reported the incident to authorities. She had only shared details of the incident with close family and friends until she heard Trump deny such behavior during the second presidential debate on October 9, 2016. Hope Hicks, Trump’s press secretary, stated that McGillivray’s allegations lacked “any merit or veracity” and were untruthful.
Rachel Crooks (2005)
In 2005, Rachel Crooks was a 22-year-old receptionist at Bayrock Group, a real estate investment and development company in Trump Tower in Manhattan. She says she encountered Trump in an elevator in the building one morning and turned to introduce herself. They shook hands, but Mr. Trump would not let go. Instead, he began kissing her cheeks, then directly on the mouth. “It was so inappropriate,” Crooks recalled in an interview. “I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that.” Her story was printed by The New York Times. Trump has categorically disputed Crooks’ claims.
Natasha Stoynoff (2005)
Canadian author and journalist Natasha Stoynoff, who wrote for People magazine and, previously, the Toronto Star and Toronto Sun, went to Trump’s Florida estate in December 2005 to interview him and his wife, Melania. While there, Trump gave Stoynoff a tour of the Mar-a-Lago estate. She says that during this tour, he pushed her against a wall and forced his tongue into her mouth.
Stoynoff described the alleged episode, “We walked into that room alone, and Trump shut the door behind us. I turned around, and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat … I was stunned. And I was grateful when Trump’s longtime butler burst into the room a minute later, as I tried to unpin myself.” Stoynoff composed herself and conducted the interview, after which she said Trump repeatedly told her, “We’re going to have an affair, I’m telling you.” Melania was also interviewed for that article.
Trump sent out a tweet on October 13, 2016, in which he said it had not happened and wondered why she had not mentioned the event in her People article of 2005. Stoynoff responded that she had become angry when Trump denied assaulting women during the presidential debate and was triggered by the release of the Access Hollywood recording in early October. Until that point, she said, she had conflicting emotions common among victims of assault, combined with embarrassment and confusion. J.D. Heyman, People’s deputy editor, said: “It was disorienting for her. She felt a great deal of worry and distress about it. Then she felt angry.”
Jessica Drake (2006)
On October 22, 2016, Jessica Drake held a news conference in which Drake accused Trump of having sexually assaulted her and two acquaintances nearly ten years prior. Drake, an adult film actress and sex education advocate, said that she met Trump at her company’s booth during a charity golf tournament at Lake Tahoe in 2006. Drake claims that she was invited to meet with Trump, who was married at the time, at his hotel suite; she was “uncomfortable going alone” and brought two friends. Describing the meeting with Trump, Drake recounted that “He grabbed each of us tightly, in a hug and kissed each one of us without asking permission.”nb nm junhyfv Drake stated that she and her friends left the suite after 30–45 minutes. Shortly thereafter, Drake claims she received phone calls from Trump or his associate, requesting that she join him in his suite for $10,000, and offering to fly her on his jet back to Los Angeles. She said she declined his offers.
In response to Drake’s allegations, the Trump campaign stated that her story is “false and ridiculous.” However, Trump seemed to admit wrongdoing when he said, “Oh, I’m sure she’s never been grabbed before.”
Ninni Laaksonen (2006)
Ninni Laaksonen, Miss Finland 2006, appeared with Trump on the Late Show with David Letterman on July 26, 2006. Laaksonen claims that before they went on the air, Trump grabbed her buttocks. As Laaksonen describes the interaction: “He really grabbed my butt. I don’t think anybody saw it but I flinched and thought: “What is happening?” Someone later told Laaksonen that Trump liked her because she looked like his wife, Melania, when she was younger.
Burnett’s unnamed friend (2010)
According to CNN anchor Erin Burnett, an unnamed female friend of Burnett, alleges she was kissed in a Trump Tower boardroom in 2010. She said, “Trump took Tic Tacs, suggested I take them also. He then leaned in, catching me off guard, and kissed me almost on lips. I was really freaked out.” She was invited by Trump into his office. She and Trump were alone in the office when he made further advances, giving her his cell phone number, telling her she was special, and asking her to call him. The woman said that she “ran the hell out of there”. The story was reported by Burnett on CNN in October 2016.
Cassandra Searles (2013)
Rolling Stone and NPR have reported that Cassandra Searles, Miss Washington USA of 2013, was fondled by Trump during the Miss USA pageant of that year. Yahoo!News published an article in June 2016 stating that Searles had made Facebook postings that accused Trump of making unwanted advances. She said that he was “continually” groping her buttocks and had asked her to go “to his hotel room”.
Miss Universe Claims
Trump owned the Miss Universe franchise, which includes Miss USA and Miss Teen USA, from 1996 to 2015. Contestants of the shows have alleged that, during his tenure, Trump would enter the dressing rooms while they were in various stages of undress. These incidents happened in 1997, 2000, 2001, and 2006.
During a Howard Stern interview in 2005, Trump admitted his practice of walking in unannounced while beauty pageant contestants were naked or partially clothed:
“I’ll go backstage before a show, and everyone’s getting dressed and ready and everything else….You know, no men are anywhere. And I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant. You know, they’re standing there with no clothes. And you see these incredible-looking women. And so I sort of get away with things like that.” – Donald Trump
Mariah Billado, Miss Vermont Teen USA, is one of four women to mention such a dressing room visit incident in 1997. Billado said of the visit: “I remember putting on my dress really quick, because I was like, ‘Oh my god, there’s a man in here.’ Trump, she recalled, said something like, ‘Don’t worry, ladies, I’ve seen it all before.'” Billado recalled talking to Ivanka, Trump’s daughter, who responded “Yeah, he does that.”