10:59 GMT15 June 2021
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    As more women come forward with sexual assault allegations against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, the reality-television-host candidate has become increasingly defensive.

    Speaking at a rally in Florida on Thursday, Trump went on a tirade against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her "secret" meetings "with international banks to plot the destruction of US sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special friends and donors."

    If you think that conspiracy sounds vaguely anti-Semitic, the Anti-Defamation League would agree.

    Trump’s increasingly erratic behavior is tied to a spate of sexual assault allegations that come in the wake of an Access Hollywood tape that surfaced last week. The candidate specifically addressed a story published by the New York Times on Wednesday that detailed the separate accounts of two women who claim the billionaire Republican candidate groped and kissed them inappropriately.

    One instance involved Jessica Leeds, who said Trump groped her in the first-class cabin of a flight to New York in the early 1980s.

    "He was like an octopus. His hands were everywhere," she said. "It was an assault."

    The other occurred in the elevator of the Trump Tower, where Rachel Cooks claims the billionaire "kissed me directly on the mouth."

    "It was so inappropriate," she said. "I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that."

    Both accounts described behavior similar to what Trump boasted about during the Access Hollywood tape. Trump dismissed the allegations and threatened legal action against the paper on Thursday.

    The Times story was followed by the release of a disturbing video from 1992 in which Trump can be heard speaking to a 10-year-old girl at Trump Tower, saying, "I am going to be dating her in 10 years. Can you believe it?"

    Hours later, a reporter with People Magazine publicly accused the candidate of forcing himself on her prior to an interview.

    "We walked into that room alone, and Trump shut the door behind us. I turned around, and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat," Natasha Stoynoff wrote for People.

    Also on Wednesday night, Mindy McGillivray of Palm Springs, Florida, said the Republican candidate also groped her when she was 23 and working on a photo shoot.

    "All of a sudden I felt a grab, a little nudge. I think it’s Ken’s camera bag, that was my first instinct. I turn around and there’s Donald. He sort of looked away quickly," she said, according to Raw Story.

    Speaking to NBC News, the former Miss Utah, Temple Taggart McDowell, alleged that Trump kissed her inappropriately on two separate occasions.

    "He kissed me directly on the lips. I thought: ‘Oh, my gosh. Gross.’ He was married to Marla Maples at the time. I think there were a few other girls that he kissed on the mouth," she said, according to Talking Points Memo.

    "I was like, 'Wow, that’s inappropriate.'"

    Given all these new accusations, it’s hard to dismiss the Access Hollywood audio as mere "locker room talk," as Trump surrogates have claimed.


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    sexual assault, 2016 election, GOP, RNC, Donald Trump, US
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