Presidential races

Trump lashes out at media and his accusers

Donald Trump on Thursday sought to discredit the women who have accused him of groping and lashed out at the news organizations that have printed their stories, as the GOP nominee seeks to beat back cascading stories about alleged his sexual misconduct toward women.

Speaking from a teleprompter at a rally in West Palm Beach, Fla., Trump ripped his accusers, calling their stories “slander and libel” and part of a “concerted, coordinated and vicious attack” launched by Hillary Clinton and the news media to take down his campaign. 

{mosads}Trump said he has “substantial evidence” that the women’s claims are false and vowed to release his findings sometime “very soon.”

“Their claims are preposterous, ludicrous and defy logic,” Trump said. 

“These lies come from outlets whose past stories and claims have already been discredited,” he added. “The media outlets did not attempt to confirm the most basic facts because even a simple investigation would have shown these were nothing more than false smears.”

Trump hurled insults at the press, describing it as an entrenched establishment force “in bed” with the Hillary Clinton and hell-bent on getting her elected president.  

He called the news media “the most powerful weapon” in the Clinton arsenal and accused reporters of “conspiring directly” with his rival to ensure she wins the White House. 

“Their agenda is to elect Crooked Hillary Clinton at any cost, any price, no matter how many lives they destroy,” he said. “For them, it is war.”

“They will attack you and slander you and seek to destroy your career and family and everything about you, including your reputation,” Trump added. “They will lie, lie, lie and do worse than that. Whatever is necessary.”

Over the last 24 hours, multiple women have come forward to accuse Trump of uninvited kissing or groping. 

In reports and first-person accounts recorded in The New York Times, People magazine and The Palm Beach Post, four women have accused Trump of forcibly kissing them or aggressively touching them against their will.

Trump said Thursday that his lawyers are preparing a defamation suit against the New York Times as part of an offensive meant to push back on the claims. 

The newspaper, Trump said, had suffered an “embarrassment” when a previous story – authored by the same two reporters – had fallen apart earlier this year. 

“The same two discredited reporters who should have been fired tell another fabricated and false story that supposedly took place,” Trump said. “Another ridiculous tale.” 

Several women in a New York Times story about Trump’s mistreatment of women released earlier this year later said they were misquoted or taken out of context and that they support and admire Trump. 

The paper shot back in a statement:

“We published newsworthy information about a subject of deep concern,” the paper said. “If Mr. Trump disagrees, if he believes that American citizens had no right to hear what these women had to say and that the law of this country forces us and those who would dare criticize him to stand silent or be punished, we welcome the opportunity to set him straight in court.”

The women came forward after Trump at Sunday’s debate denied making unwanted sexual advances toward women, an issue raised after he was caught on a hot microphone bragging about kissing and grabbing women, and talking about how he can get away with it because he’s a celebrity.

Trump has dismissed the comments as “locker room talk” and has denied that he ever behaved in that way.

At the Thursday rally, Trump addressed the specific claims against him and said the allegations would not withstand further scrutiny.

“These vicious claims about me of inappropriate conduct with women are totally and absolutely false,” Trump said. “These claims are all fabricated, they’re pure fiction and outright lies. These events never happened and the people who said them meekly understand.”

Trump addressed the specific claims against him one-by-one, giving his view of why the allegations would not withstand scrutiny.

People magazine published a first-person story on Wednesday night by one of its former writers, who said she had received unwanted advances from Trump in December 2005 while she toured Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort for an interview with Trump and his wife.

After a pregnant Melania Trump left her alone with Donald Trump, writer Natasha Stoynoff said, Trump pushed her against a wall and forcibly kissed her.

Trump said that an eyewitness has debunked the story, although he did not say who. He claimed the encounter took place in a room full of windows that anyone could look into. 

And the story that ran in People at the time was a glowing piece about his marriage, Trump said.

The GOP nominee asked why the reporter did not write about how a huge television celebrity had assaulted her, which would have been a much bigger story, he said.

“Why wasn’t it part of the story that appeared 12 years ago?,” Trump asked. “Why didn’t they make it part of the story?..It would have been one of the biggest stories of the years.”

“It would have been the headline,” Trump continued. “These are horrible people, horrible liars, and it happens to appear 26 days before our very important election.”

Trump also shot back at Jessica Leeds, now 74, who told the Times that Trump had groped her while seated on a flight in the 1980s. She said that Trump began to grab her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt as he sat next to her, the two strangers until the interaction. 

“He was like an octopus … his hands were everywhere,” she told The Times. 

“It was an assault.” 

Trump questioned why there were no witnesses to that event, which allegedly took place on an airplane more than 30 years ago.

He did not address another woman in the same story, Rachel Crooks, who told the Times that Trump kissed her on the month when she was a 22-year-old receptionist in 2005, or a report from the Palm Beach Post that Trump had groped a woman at a resort near Miami in 2003.

As Trump spoke, First Lady Michelle Obama had just finished her own speech in Manchester, N.H., ripping the GOP nominee for his treatment of women and defending Hillary Clinton’s marriage against Trump’s attacks.

“This is not normal, this is not politics as usual,” Obama said. “This is disgraceful, it is intolerable.” 

“We simply cannot endure this or expose our children to this any longer,” she said. “Now is the time for us all of us to stand up and say, ‘enough is enough.’ This has got to stop right now.”

Tags Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Michelle Obama
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