Former Trump campaign staffer Alva Johnson joined All In With Chris Hayes Tuesday night and spoke about the lawsuit she filed against Donald Trump on Monday. In the lawsuit, Johnson alleges that Trump kissed her without consent before a campaign event in August of 2016, and that she was grossly underpaid while working on the campaign. Of the unwanted kiss, Johnson said she’d given Trump words of encouragement before the event and that after a brief exchange he went in for a kiss.
“He just starts getting closer, and then when I realize he was going to kiss my lips, I turn my mouth and he caught me right in the corner of my mouth, and I was just kind of frozen,” Johnson said. She went on to call the incident “gross and creepy.”
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders dismissed the claims, as did former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Trump’s Florida campaign director, Karen Giorno. According to the lawsuit, Bondi and Giorno were present at the time of the incident, but their reactions were as if something positive had just happened.
“Pam kind of looked at me like (smiles and nods her head), and Karen Giorno, who I reported to at the time, kind of grabbed my elbow, kind of congratulatory,” Johnson said, “and I didn’t feel that way.”
Johnson said she pushed the incident to the back of her head until several weeks later when the infamous Access Hollywood tape, in which Trump brags to Billy Bush about forcing himself on women, was released.
“When I heard the audio, I mean, I was like screaming at my car. Like, ‘Oh, my God, that’s exactly what he did to me,’” Johnson said. “Like, he literally described exactly what he did to me, minus the grab the P.”
Johnson never returned to work for the campaign, saying that it was clear what Trump’s intentions were and that she was too afraid.
Johnson went on to say she regrets helping Trump get elected, citing his reaction to the 2017 rally in Charlottesville, Va., the separation of families at the southern border and his response to the #MeToo movement.
“I never signed up for that,” an emotional Johnson said. “And then you have him mocking women with the #MeToo movement, making fun of them. And for me, I’m sitting there and I’m like, ‘That’s exactly what you did to me.’”
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