Women who have accused President Trump of sexual harassment held a press conference on Monday morning to ask Congress to investigate his alleged misconduct.
Held by Brave New Films, a nonprofit producer of documentaries based in Los Angeles, the press conference united three of Trump’s accusers for the first time to share “disturbing allegations [that] came to light before the post-Weinstein era of accountability for sexual misconduct and the rise of the #MeToo movement,” a statement noted.
“Our elected officials, no matter their party affiliation, should act,” said Brave New Films founder and CEO Robert Greenwald.
Sharing their stories at the press event were former Miss USA contestant Samantha Holvey; former Trump Tower receptionist Rachel Crooks; Jessica Leeds, who claims Trump harassed her on a flight; and Lisa Boyne, an entrepreneur who says she attended a dinner party in the ’90s and witnessed “misogynistic behavior” on the part of Trump.
Holvey, Miss North Carolina 2006, said that Trump, the former owner of the Miss USA pageant, lined her up with fellow participants and looked them over “like they were pieces of meat.” Trump also allegedly went into the backstage area while Holvey “sat naked under a robe as he walked around looking at us like we were his property before he moved into the dressing room.”
She now wants “this man to be held accountable for his actions so that future generations of women can fulfill their dreams without worry of anyone treating them like they are less-than because they are a woman.”
Crooks, the former receptionist, claims Trump forcibly kissed her. “Unfortunately, this behavior isn’t rare in our society, and people of all backgrounds can be victims,” she said. “The only reason I’m here today is because this offender is now the president of our country.”
While Crooks shared her story in October 2016, she said, it seemed to fall on deaf ears. On Monday, she noted, “Recently, the #MeToo movement has gained momentum, and women have found strength in one another and the courage to come forward, leading many powerful men to suffer the consequences of their actions. Trump, however, has escaped this path unscathed — but over a dozen women have come forward about his sexual misconduct.” She added that she wants to believe that Americans can “put aside our political inclinations” and “hold Mr. Trump to the same standard as Harvey Weinstein and the other men who were held accountable for their reprehensible behavior.”
Leeds alleged that Trump “decided he was bored and he wanted some entertainment” on a flight in the 1970s. She managed to get away from him, but she ran into him again and, she claims, he remembered her. “I think Trump will eventually be forced to quit, resign,” she said. “I unfortunately feel that the sexual aggression issue is kind of low on the list of things wrong with Trump, but it’s important enough to me to bring this up and hope that we can get some sort of change in our culture that will improve the situation going forward.”
As for Boyne, who spoke out last November about “Trump’s cringeworthy upskirt leering” in a video shared by attorney Lisa Bloom, “no one really cared about my story for 25-plus years,” she said, and that it wasn’t until the Access Hollywood tape was released that she was taken seriously.
Boyne has called on Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, as well as her representative, Jim Himes — both Democrats — to demand “that Donald Trump goes down like Al Franken,” because what he’s done is “a thousand times worse.”
Holvey, Crooks and Leeds were interviewed by Megyn Kelly on Monday morning. A White House spokesperson responded to NBC with a statement saying, “These false claims, totally disputed in most cases by eyewitness accounts, were addressed at length during last year’s campaign, and the American people voiced their judgement by delivering a decisive victory. The timing and absurdity of these false claims speaks volumes and the publicity tour that has begun only further confirms the political motives behind them.”
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