Two women have accused Donald Trump of inappropriately touching them, accusations his spokesman calls “fiction” but which may further damage the Republican presidential nominee’s campaign with only four weeks to go until the election.
One of the women, Jessica Leeds, appeared on camera on the New York Times website to recount how Trump grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt in the first class cabin on a flight to New York in or around 1980.
The second woman, Rachel Crooks, described how Trump “kissed me directly on the mouth” in 2005 outside the elevator in Trump Tower in Manhattan, where she was a receptionist at a real estate firm.
Trump’s campaign denied there was any truth to the accounts and a senior adviser told Reuters that Trump is preparing a lawsuit against the New York Times.
“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,” the Trump campaign’s senior communications adviser Jason Miller said in a statement.
Reuters could not independently verify the incidents described in the New York Times story. Leeds and Crooks did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Reuters.
The report comes on the heels of a 2005 video that surfaced on Friday that showed Trump bragging about groping women, kissing them without permission, and trying to seduce a married woman.
Trump said during the second presidential debate on Sunday that he had not actually done the things he had boasted about, and apologised for his remarks, which he called private “locker room talk.”
A spokeswoman for his opponent, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, said Wednesday’s report was “disturbing.”
“These reports suggest that he lied on the debate stage and that the disgusting behaviour he bragged about in the tape is more than just words,” said Jennifer Palmieri, a spokeswoman for the Clinton campaign.
Trump’s assertion that he had not groped women spurred one of the women to speak out, the New York Times said in its report.
Neither of the women reported the episodes to authorities, but they did tell friends and family members about the inappropriate touching, according to the New York Times report, which included accounts of some who were told about the incidents.
The New York Times reported that Trump, in an angry phone call, denied the incidents and threatened to sue the newspaper.
“We stand by the story, which falls clearly into the realm of public service journalism,” a New York Times spokeswoman said.
In the hour immediately following the publication of the New York Times story, other media outlets published reports describing other incidents.
The Palm Beach Post reported a claim by Mindy McGillivray, 36, a woman in South Florida, that Trump had grabbed her bottom 13 years ago while she was working at his Mar a Lago estate as a photographer’s assistant.
“There is no truth to this whatsoever,” Trump’s spokeswoman Hope Hicks told the Post. McGillivray could not be reached for comment.
CBS showed clips from its show Entertainment Tonight in 1992 with Trump addressing a group of 10-year-old girls, telling them he would be dating one of them in 10 years. He was 46 at the time. Hicks did not respond to a request for comment on the CBS report. (REUTERS)