Two women are saying Donald Trump lied during the second presidential debate when he said that he never groped women in the manner he described on a hot mic in a 2005 recording, according to a report published Wednesday by The New York Times.
On the tape, Trump tells Access Hollywood host Billy Bush that when he sees attractive women, "I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything."
But, he has repeatedly dismissed the remarks as "locker room talk." When asked during Sunday's debate if had ever actually done what he described in the tape, Trump said, "No, I have not."
Jessica Leeds, a 74-year-old Manhattan resident, told The Times that she "wanted to punch the screen" when Trump said that.
Leeds says Trump grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt during a flight to New York more than 30 years ago.
“He was like an octopus,” said Leeds, who was 38 at the time of the alleged incident in first class. “His hands were everywhere.”
Leeds says she moved from the first-class cabin to the back of the plane after Trump's unwelcome advances. “It was an assault,” she said, although she did not report the incident.
Rachel Crooks told The Times that Trump forcibly kissed her when she met him outside a Trump Tower elevator in 2005. She was a 22-year-old receptionist at a real estate investment firm at the time.
"Aware that her company did business with Mr. Trump, she turned and introduced herself. They shook hands, but Mr. Trump would not let go, she said. Instead, he began kissing her cheeks." The Times reported. Then, he “kissed me directly on the mouth,” Crooks told The Times.
“It was so inappropriate,” Crooks told The Times. “I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that.”
When The Times reporter questioned Trump about the story, he shouted, “None of this ever took place,” according to The Times. He accused the publication of making up the story to hurt his campaign and threatened to sue the paper if they published it.
“You are a disgusting human being,” he told the reporter, according to The Times.
When asked if he had ever groped women like he said the 2005 recording Trump said, "I don’t do it. I don’t do it. It was locker room talk.”
"This entire article is fiction, and for the New York Times to launch a completely false, coordinated character assassination against Mr. Trump on a topic like this is dangerous," Trump communications adviser Jason Miller said in a statement Wednesday in response to the story. "To reach back decades in an attempt to smear Mr. Trump trivializes sexual assault, and it sets a new low for where the media is willing to go in its efforts to determine this election."
Miller called it "absurd" that "one of the most recognizable business leaders on the planet with a strong record of empowering women" would have committed the acts described in the story. Miller called the story "nothing more than a political attack" and said this "is a sad day for the Times."
Neither woman ever reported the alleged incidents to the authorities, although they did tell their stories to friends and family, according to the report. Leeds said she did not complain about the incident on the flight because of the culture of the time.
"We accepted it for years,” she told The Times. “We were taught it was our fault.”