Former Miss Utah Temple Taggart vowed at a Friday press conference to “stand up to Donald Trump” with the help of Gloria Allred, an attorney who specializes in women’s rights.
Speaking in Salt Lake City, Taggart, who has accused the Republican presidential candidate of kissing her on the lips without consent on two separate occasions in 1997, reiterated her allegations. She also told reporters that she’d be represented by Allred in the event that Trump follows through on his recent threat to sue her and the 12 other women and counting who have accused him of sexual misconduct.
“I’m ready for this battle, but there shouldn’t be one,” Taggart said, reading from a statement directed at Trump. “You should have the decency to admit what you did to me and take responsibility for what you’ve done to the other women.”
Taggart’s alleged encounters with Trump first came to light back in May, as part of a New York Times investigation into the Republican presidential candidate’s past behavior with women.
She has since been joined by a growing list of women who say that they were also the subjects of Trump’s unwanted advances. The majority of the allegations emerged after the release this month of a 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump is heard making lewd comments about women and boasting about groping them.
Trump apologized for his comments but fiercely denied ever engaging in such behavior. He has accused each of these women of lying and, during a speech in Gettysburg, Pa., last weekend, even declared that “every one of these liars will be sued once the election is over.”
Asked Friday about the theory — fueled largely by Trump — that the mounting sexual misconduct allegations, which include assault, are part of a concerted political effort to derail his presidential campaign, Allred noted that while she is a proud supporter of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, Taggart is not.
“I’m a Republican,” the former pageant winner confirmed, adding that she has no intention of backing Clinton. Taggart said she is backing the conservative independent candidate Evan McMullin, a Trump critic who is performing surprisingly strong in polls of Utah.
Allred, who also currently represents three of Trump’s other female accusers, said Taggart contacted her following the candidate’s promise to sue after the election. (Trump frequently issues legal threats against his foes, often without following through.)
“Women should not be intimidated into silence by threats of lawsuits,” said Allred. “This issue is not about sex. It is about the attitude and behavior of a man who seeks the highest office in our country.”
Taggart agreed, adding that she feels Trump “is trying to bully and frighten [his accusers] into silence.”
“I’m not scared,” she said. “I know I’m telling the truth, and the truth is the greatest defense.”