Donald Trump on sex assault allegations: ‘I am a victim of great political smear campaigns’
Washington (CNN + DIPLOMAT.SO) – Donald Trump on Friday called himself a “victim” as more women continued to come forward on Friday accusing him of sexual assault and harassment.
“As you have seen, I am a victim of one of the great political smear campaigns in the history of our country,” he said at a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Friday night. “They are coming after me to try and destroy what is considered by even them the greatest movement in the history of our country.”
Trump’s comments came as he once again alleged it’s “all false stuff” and there is a “concerted effort” to take down his campaign, ignoring calls from his campaign advisers to focus on economic issues rather than responding to the allegations.
“My people always say, ‘Don’t talk about it, talk about jobs, talk about the economy,'” Trump explained to his supporters in Greensboro earlier on Friday. “But I feel I have to talk about it because you have to dispute when somebody says something.”
And during his two rallies on Friday, Trump did just that, forcefully denying the allegations that he kissed and groped several women without their consent — actions he had bragged about being able to do in a 2005 tape — and arguing that if just a sliver of voters believe those allegations, he will lose the election.
“If 5% of the people think it’s true — and maybe 10% — we don’t win,” Trump said.
More allegations surface
That comment came in Greensboro, which took place less than two hours after two women came forward alleging Trump groped them without their consent. One of the women, former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos, made her accusation during that rally.
In Greensboro, Trump disputed the account of the other woman, Kristin Anderson, calling her story “nonsense” and “false,” arguing that he rarely sits alone, even though Anderson never claimed Trump was sitting alone at the time of the incident.
“I was sitting alone by myself and then I went wah to somebody,” Trump said at his Greensboro rally, motioning to his side as he attempted to re-enact Anderson’s account of his behavior.
He also proposed that his supporters boycott People magazine after a reporter wrote a story alleging Trump began kissing her without her consent in 2005 when the two were alone for an interview at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
“I think maybe what we should do, boycott that issue of People Magazine,” he said in Charlotte.
Trump also accused Clinton of “character assassination,” saying in Charlotte that it’s Clinton’s “specialty.”
“And her specialty, if you look over the years, has been character assassination and really personally just going after people, that’s her specialty,” he said. “She’s been doing it her whole career. The only force strong enough to smash Clinton’s corrupt criminal syndicate is you, the American voter, November 8th.”
Trump blames ‘establishment’
As he did a day earlier, Trump again argued on Friday that the allegations are part of a global conspiracy by the “establishment” — including the media and powerful special interests — to defeat his campaign.
“The whole thing is one big fix. It’s one big fix. It’s one big ugly lie. It’s one big fix. The press can’t write the kind of things they write, which are lies, lies, lies,” Trump said in Greensboro. “The only thing I said is hopefully, hopefully our patriotic movement will overcome this terrible deception.”
Trump also attacked the women who have accused him of inappropriate behavior, calling Jessica Leeds, the woman who accused him of groping her on a plane in the early 1980s, a “horrible woman,” apparently suggesting she was not attractive enough for him to grope.
“When you looked at that horrible woman last night, you said, ‘I don’t think so! I don’t think so!'” Trump said.
As he continued to deny the allegations, several of his supporters shouted back, “We believe you!”
Trump also suggested that the allegations against him were so unfounded that “they could say it about anybody,” including President Barack Obama.
“Why doesn’t some woman maybe come up and say what they say falsely about me, they could say about him? They could say it about anybody. They could say it about anybody. He better be careful because they could say it about anybody. Anybody at all,” Trump said.