Donald Trump on Thursday strongly denied the latest allegations of sexual misconduct against him, calling them "preposterous" and nothing more than a coordinated attack from his Democratic rival.
At rallies in Florida and Ohio, the Republican presidential nominee also said he had never met any of the women who levied the allegations, which include groping and inappropriate touching.
"Instead of the issues, they've slandered and libeled me with wild accusations," Trump said in Ohio. "I never met these people. I don't even know who they are."
His defense came one day after the New York Times published a story in which two women came forward with accounts of Trump making inappropriate sexual advances toward them.
Jessica Leeds told the Times that Trump groped her breast and reached under her skirt as they sat next to each other on a flight in the 1980s.
“He was like an octopus,” she told the newspaper. “His hands were everywhere.”
The second woman, Rachel Crooks, told the Times that Trump began kissing her directly on the mouth after she introduced herself to him while waiting for an elevator in Trump Tower.
People writer Natasha Stoynoff also wrote on Wednesday about her 2005 visit to the Florida Mar-a-Lago resort to interview Donald and Melania Trump for a story on the couple’s first anniversary.
“We walked into that room alone, and Trump shut the door behind us,” Stoynoff wrote. “I turned around, and within seconds, he was pushing me against the wall, and forcing his tongue down my throat.”
He told her, “You know we’re going to have an affair, don’t you,” Stoynoff wrote. She said she was shocked, then later angry, afraid, and ashamed.
In response, Melania Trump tweeted an attorney's letter to People demanding a retraction and apology and threatening to sue.
Trump has denied the allegations, and at a rally in West Palm Beach, blamed the media, saying they are part of targeted attack deployed by the Hillary Clinton campaign.
"They will attack you, they will slander you, they will seek to destroy your career and your family," he said.
Trump also insisted the Times story was false.
"These events never, ever happened, and the people who said them fully understand," he said. "You take a look at these people, you study these people and you’ll understand. The claims are preposterous, ludicrous, and defy common sense and logic."
Trump said he plans on filing a lawsuit against the Times, adding that his campaign already has substantial evidence to dispute the story and that he will make it public soon. The Times, meanwhile, has refused his demand to retract the story.
Before the rally began, Trump also refused to answer a direct question regarding the allegations in the report.
An Associated Press reporter asked Trump if he had ever touched or kissed a woman without her consent as he walked out of a conference room, to which the candidate shook his head as businesspeople in the room booed and said, "Get out of here."
According to the reporter, Trump said, "What a sleazebag," as he was escorted out.
The interaction was caught on a livestream broadcast by Right Side Broadcasting.
Trump's treatment of women has been under intense scrutiny since a 2005 Access Hollywood tape captured him saying he grabs women "by the pussy."
During Sunday's debate, Trump dismissed the tape, calling it "locker room talk."
Mary Ann Georgantopoulos is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Mary Ann Georgantopoulos at email@example.com.
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