President Donald Trump on Tuesday denied the account of a woman who alleges he kissed her on the mouth without her consent.
Rachel Crooks, who first went public in the months before the 2016 election, says she greeted Trump outside an elevator in the building where they both worked in an attempt to be cordial to one of her company’s business partners. But after saying hello and shaking hands, she claims Trump kissed her on her cheeks and then on the mouth.
“It was so inappropriate,” she told The New York Times in October 2016. “I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that.”
The Washington Post published a lengthy, front page profile of Crooks on Tuesday. The story details how Crooks has tried to tell her story repeatedly as a way to get people to listen.
“A woman I don’t know and, to the best of my knowledge, never met, is on the FRONT PAGE of the Fake News Washington Post saying I kissed her (for two minutes yet) in the lobby of Trump Tower 12 years ago. Never happened! Who would do this in a public space with live security cameras running,” Trump wrote.
The tweet is the latest attempt by Trump to dismiss the stories of at least 15 women who have come forward with a series of accusation against him, ranging from sexual harassment and sexual assault to lewd behavior around women. Of the women, 13 say Trump attacked them directly and two others say they witnessed behavior that made them uncomfortable. And all the alleged incidents took place prior to Trump assuming the presidency.
Trump also accused the women on Tuesday of making up their stories for money.
“Another False Accusation. Why doesn’t @washingtonpost report the story of the women taking money to make up stories about me? One had her home mortgage paid off. Only @FoxNews so reported…doesn’t fit the Mainstream Media narrative,” he tweeted.
Crooks announced earlier this month that she is running for state legislature in Ohio as a Democrat.
“I think my voice should have been heard then, and I’ll still fight for it to be heard now,” Crooks told Cosmopolitan magazine.
Trump’s denial does not accurately reflect Crooks story, however. The former Bayrock Group receptionist has said that the encounter happened on the 24th floor of Trump Tower, not in the lobby.
Through her campaign Twitter account, Crooks urged Trump to release any video he has of the interaction.
“Please, by all means, share the footage from the hallway outside the 24th floor residential elevator bank on the morning of January 11, 2006,” her campaign account wrote. “Let’s clear this up for everyone. It’s liars like you in politics that have prompted me to run for office myself.”
Describing the encounter, Crooks told the Post: “He started kissing me on one cheek, then the other cheek. He was talking to me in between kisses, asking where I was from, or if I wanted to be a model. He wouldn’t let go of my hand, and then he went right in and started kissing me on the lips.”
She added: “It felt like a long kiss. The whole thing probably lasted two minutes, maybe less.”
Trump opened the floodgates of accusations against him during the 2016 campaign when he downplayed the release of a 2005 “Access Hollywood” video that showed him saying he was able to “grab them by the p**sy” because he was famous. Trump said the remarks was nothing more than “locker room talk” at the second presidential debate and said he never kissed or groped women without consent.
Trump’s comments come amid a new focus on two accusations – one from former Playboy model Karen McDougal and another with porn actress Stormy Daniels – of Trump carrying on an extramarital affair while married to now first lady Melania Trump and shortly after the birth of his youngest son.
The New Yorker reported Friday that it had obtained a eight-page, handwritten document where McDougal details her alleged nine month affair with Trump from June 2006 to April 2007. The document details Trump paying for dinner in a private bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel with McDougal and offering her money after the first time they had sex and reimbursing her for travel.
The story is similar to Daniels’ account. The Wall Street Journal reported in January that Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, allegedly paid her $130,000 to keep quiet ahead of the 2016 election. The White House has denied the report.
Cohen admitted to making the payment earlier this month, but said it was a “private transaction” from his “own personal funds.”
“Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly,” Cohen said in a statement, referencing Daniels’ given name, Stephanie Clifford.
Daniels’ manager, Gina Rodriguez, said last week that Cohen’s statement voided the non-disclosure agreement with her and allows her client to tell her story publicly.
“Everything is off now,” Rodriguez said, “and Stormy is going to tell her story.”
CNN’s Max Blau contributed to this report.