By CATHERINE LUCEY
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump, pushing back against women accusing him of sexual misconduct, insisted Tuesday he’s the target of “false accusations and fabricated stories of women who I don’t know and/or have never met.”
Trump lashed out on Twitter a day after three women who previously accused him of sexual harassment shared their stories on NBC’s “Megyn Kelly Today.”
Trump says Democrats “have been unable to show any collusion with Russia” and now are “moving on” to these allegations. He adds: “FAKE NEWS!”
He also attacked Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who on Monday said Trump should resign over the allegations.
Trump said Gillibrand is a “total flunky for Chuck Schumer,” the Senate Democratic leader. He said Gillibrand, “who would come to my office ‘begging’ for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump.”
The New York Democrat responded on Twitter, saying: “You cannot silence me or the millions of women who have gotten off the sidelines to speak out about the unfitness and shame you have brought to the Oval Office.”
On Monday, the women – Jessica Leeds, Samantha Holvey and Rachel Crooks – urged Congress to investigate Trump’s behavior. A fourth woman also spoke at a news conference with them via phone.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders pledged to provide a list of eyewitnesses whose accounts exonerated the president. She did not provide the list by late Monday.
The allegations surfaced during last year’s presidential campaign, but the women raised the issue anew on the Kelly show Monday and at a news conference.
“It was heartbreaking last year,” Holvey said. “We’re private citizens and for us to put ourselves out there to try and show America who this man is and how he views women, and for them to say, ‘Eh, we don’t care,’ it hurt.”
The former beauty queen claimed that Trump ogled her and other Miss USA pageant contestants in their dressing room in 2006. Crooks is a former receptionist at Trump Tower and Leeds says she met Trump on a flight.
Sixteen women have come forward with a range of accusations against Trump, many after the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape last October in which Trump was caught on an open microphone bragging about groping women. One woman, Summer Zevos, a contestant on Trump’s reality show, “The Apprentice,” sued, contending that Trump’s denials of her accusations amount to false and defamatory statements.
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