UPDATED: Two women have come forward to claim that Donald Trump touched them inappropriately in separate incidents over the past few decades, according to the New York Times, but Trump himself has lashed out at the paper and threatened to sue.
Jessica Leeds, now 74, claims that she sat next to Trump on a flight in the early 1980s when he grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt, according to the Times.
“He was like an octopus,” she said. “His hands were everywhere.”
Rachel Crooks claims than in 2005, when she was 22 and working as a receptionist for a real estate investment company that was located in Trump tower, she ran into Trump outside an elevator and introduced herself. Trump began kissing her, she told the Times, recalling the encounter as “inappropriate.”
Trump lashed out at one of the reporters who wrote the story, telling her that “none of this ever took place” and that he would sue the Times if it published the piece.
The Trump campaign issued a statement about the report later on Wednesday, with his senior communications adviser Jason Miller calling the article “fiction.”
“This entire article is fiction, and for the New York Times to launch a completely false, coordinated character assassination against Mr. Trump on a topic like this is dangerous. To reach back decades in an attempt to smear Mr. Trump trivializes sexual assault, and it sets a new low for where the media is willing to go in its efforts to determine this election,” the statement reads.”
“It is absurd to think that one of the most recognizable business leaders on the planet with a strong record of empowering women in his companies would do the things alleged in this story, and for this to only become public decades later in the final month of a campaign for president should say it all.
“Further, the Times story buries the pro-Clinton financial and social media activity on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, reinforcing that this truly is nothing more than a political attack. This is a sad day for the Times.”
Later on Wednesday, an attorney for Trump sent a letter to the New York Times demanding a retraction.
The story reflects the increased scrutiny that Trump has faced since Friday, when the Washington Post published an “Access Hollywood” recording of a conversation Trump had with co-host Billy Bush. In it, Trump makes lewd comments and talks of grabbing women by their sexual organs.
At Sunday’s presidential debate, Trump was asked about the comments. He said that he had apologized for them, but said that he had never actually committed sexual assault.
At a press conference on Tuesday, attorney Gloria Allred said that she had been contacted by women who have shared stories of “inappropriate conduct by Mr. Trump,” but she declined to go into details.
Later on Wednesday, in more troubling news for the Trump campaign, CBS News uncovered a video from decades ago in which the candidate can be heard telling a group of young girl that he would be dating one of them in ten years.
In the clip, an “Entertainment Tonight” Christmas feature, Trump asks one of the young girl if he’s going up the escalator. When she replies that she is, he says, “I am going to be dating her in 10 years. Can you believe it?”