US presidential hopeful Donald Trump has hit back at sex claims from two women, describing them as “a total set-up”, Sky News reports.The Republican candidate has portrayed himself as the victim of a “smear campaign” run by the media and the political establishment.
His words come after allegations which were made by Summer Zervos, a former contestant on the US version of The Apprentice, and photographer Kristin Anderson. Mr Trump has dismissed their claims as “lies, lies lies”.
“I don’t know who these people are. I look on television, I think it’s a disgusting thing and it’s being pushed, they have no witnesses, there’s nobody around,” he said at a rally in Greensboro, North Carolina. “Some are doing it for probably a little fame, they get some free fame. It’s a total set-up.”
“I have no idea who these women are. The stories are total fiction.” At a later rally in Charlotte, he thundered: “They are coming after me to try and destroy what is considered by even them the greatest movement in the history of our country.
“The political establishment is trying to stop us because they know that we’re a threat to their totally corrupt controls.” The lawyer acting for Ms Zervos said Mr Trump had kissed her on the lips when she arrived at his office in New York in 2007. She also claimed his hands were all over her.
Ms Zervos, 41, has said Mr Trump made inappropriate sexual advances towards her at a hotel in Los Angeles a few weeks later. On that occasion she said he started kissing her “open-mouthed” and pulled her towards him. “He then grabbed my shoulder and began kissing again very aggressively, and placed his hand on my breast,” she said.
“He put me into an embrace and I tried to pull him away. I pushed his chest to put some space between us and said ‘Come on, man, get real’.” Mr Trump has denied Ms Zervos’ account of their meetings and has hit out at the media over its coverage of the accusations levelled against him.
He said in a statement that he “vaguely” remembered Ms Zervos from the television show, adding: “To be clear, I never met her at a hotel or greeted her inappropriately a decade ago. “Beyond that, the media is now creating a theatre of absurdity that threatens to tear our democratic process apart and poison the minds of the American public.” The other accuser, Kristin Anderson, told the Washington Post Mr Trump put his hand up her skirt and touched her underwear.
She said it happened when she was sitting on a couch talking to friends at the China Club in New York in the early 1990s. Ms Anderson said she shoved the hand away, got up from the couch and took a good look at the man responsible. She recognised him immediately as Donald Trump. “He was so distinctive looking – with the hair and the eyebrows. I mean, nobody else has those eyebrows,” she is quoted as saying.
At the time Ms Anderson said she was in her twenties and trying to forge a career as a model. She said Mr Trump was a big celebrity whose face was all over the tabloids and a regular visitor to New York’s clubs. Now aged 46, Ms Anderson works as a photographer and lives in southern California.
The allegations are the latest in a series made by women who have accused Mr Trump of sexual assault and making unwanted physical advances. Last week a video was released which showed him bragging about being able to grope women because of his fame. Following the release of the 2005 recording, Mr Trump initially said he was sorry “if anyone was offended” by what he called the “locker room banter”.
Footage has also emerged from 1992 in which Mr Trump tells a young girl he would be dating her in 10 years. On Thursday First Lady Michelle Obama slammed Mr Trump’s treatment of women, saying that his “obscene” comments had shaken her “to my core”.
His Democrat rival for the presidency, Hillary Clinton, described the campaigning as “incredibly painful”, adding: “I take absolutely no satisfaction in what is happening on the other side with my opponent. “It hurts our democracy.” Mrs Clinton has also accused Mr Trump of “stalking” her during the second televised debate.
The sex allegations are continuing to damage Mr Trump’s election chances. According to a new Quinnipiac poll, Mr Trump is 20 points behind Mrs Clinton among female voters.