Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSenate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale Crenshaw slams House Freedom Caucus members as 'grifters,' 'performance artists' Senate confirms Biden's nominee to lead Customs and Border Protection MORE's presidential campaign released a statement on Friday to rebut allegations of sexual assault against the candidate.
The cousin of a woman accusing Trump of groping her, John Barry of Mission Viejo, Calif., said Summer Zervos is making the allegations to get back on reality television.
"I am completely shocked and bewildered by my cousin, Summer Zervos, and her press conference today. Ever since she was on The Apprentice she has had nothing but glowing things to say about Mr. Trump,” the statement reads.
Barry said that Zervos frequently described Trump as kind and an inspiration to her professionally, and that she “converted her friends and our family to become Trump supporters.”
“That was until Summer invited Mr. Trump to her restaurant during the primary and he said no. I think Summer wishes she could still be on reality TV, and in an effort to get that back she’s saying all of these negative things about Mr. Trump,” the statement continued.
“That’s not how she talked about him before. I can only imagine that Summer’s actions today are nothing more than an attempt to regain the spotlight at Mr. Trump’s expense, and I don’t think it reflects well.”
Earlier Friday, Zervos held a press conference alongside lawyer Gloria Allred to describe a 2007 incident in which she says Trump groped and kissed her during a meeting about a job opportunity.
Along with the statement from Barry, the Trump campaign also released an email from Zervos to Trump's secretary dated April 14, 2016, in which Zervos talks about her California restaurant and says she hopes to reconnect with the GOP nominee.
“Mr. Trump has a great deal of support in Huntington Beach, Ca!” she wrote. “He has witnessed both my highs and lows operating a small business and I am pleased to report business is good.”
She then added: “I would greatly appreciate reconnecting at this time. He will know my intentions are genuine.”
Zervos referenced that email, along with another message sent a few days later, in her tearful press conference Friday.
She said the alleged incident caused her pain and anguish, and she wanted to confront Trump and give him the "opportunity to clear the air."
"I contacted his secretary in April of 2016 and asked if I could reconnect with Mr. Trump. I did not tell her why I wanted to speak with him. She responded that perhaps his campaign team would follow up with me," she said. "I then wrote his assistant an email on April 21, 2016, asking her to send my email directly to Mr. Trump. In that email, I stated, 'Your interest in me as a potential employee meant the world to me. Your interest in me as anything more blew my mind, and I lost my footing.' I further said, 'I have been incredibly hurt by our previous interaction.' I ended by stating, 'I hope to hear from you and wish you continued success.' Mr. Trump did not reply.
In an earlier statement, Trump said he "vaguely" remembers Zervos from her appearance on "The Apprentice," but never met with her at a hotel.
"That is not who I am as a person, and it is not how I’ve conducted my life," he said, accusing the media of creating a "theater of absurdity."
Updated at 1:55 a.m.