In Sunday’s presidential debate, CNN’s Anderson Cooper pressed Donald Trump multiple times about whether he ever had actually kissed or touched women without their permission. The GOP nominee was firm in response, saying he had not.
I (Michelle Jesse) am sure I’m not the only one who watched that exchange Sunday night believing the media had another shoe they were waiting to drop on the matter.
And, this evening, the other shoe dropped.
Many are highly skeptical of the source (The New York Times) and the timing of the revelations, however.
From The New York Times:
Donald J. Trump was emphatic in the second presidential debate: Yes, he had boasted about kissing women without permission and grabbing their genitals. But he had never actually done those things, he said.
“No,” he declared under questioning on Sunday evening, “I have not.”
At that moment, sitting at home in Manhattan, Jessica Leeds, 74, felt he was lying to her face. “I wanted to punch the screen,” she said in an interview in her apartment.
More than three decades ago, when she was a traveling businesswoman at a paper company, Ms. Leeds said, she sat beside Mr. Trump in the first-class cabin of a flight to New York. They had never met before.
About 45 minutes after takeoff, she recalled, Mr. Trump lifted the armrest and began to touch her.
According to Ms. Leeds, Mr. Trump grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt.
“He was like an octopus,” she said. “His hands were everywhere.”
She fled to the back of the plane. “It was an assault,” she said.
Ms. Leeds has told the story to at least four people close to her, who also spoke with The New York Times.
Mr. Trump’s claim that his crude words had never turned into actions was similarly infuriating to a woman watching on Sunday night in Ohio: Rachel Crooks.
Ms. Crooks was a 22-year-old receptionist at Bayrock Group, a real estate investment and development company in Trump Tower in Manhattan, when she encountered Mr. Trump outside an elevator in the building one morning in 2005.
Aware that her company did business with Mr. Trump, she turned and introduced herself. They shook hands, but Mr. Trump would not let go, she said. Instead, he began kissing her cheeks. Then, she said, he “kissed me directly on the mouth.”
It didn’t feel like an accident, she said. It felt like a violation.
In a phone interview on Tuesday night, a highly agitated Mr. Trump denied every one of the women’s claims.
“None of this ever took place,” said Mr. Trump, who began shouting at The Times reporter who was questioning him. He said that The Times was making up the allegations to hurt him and that he would sue the news organization if it reported them.
“You are a disgusting human being,” he told the reporter as she questioned him about the women’s claims.
Asked whether he had ever done any of the kissing or groping that he had described on the recording, Mr. Trump was once again insistent: “I don’t do it. I don’t do it. It was locker room talk.”
Reaction to the NYT’s latest revelations was immediate. While some was solidarity and support for the NYT revelations and the women involved, there was also skepticism about the motives, timing and the author of the report herself:
— #I’mWithHim? (@stephschrep) October 12, 2016
— Smaulgld (@Smaulgld) October 12, 2016
— Kevin B. Wesolowski (@Weso45pilot) October 12, 2016
— TPF (@thinkngpolitics) October 12, 2016
— Seamus Mckee (@SeamusOTwomey) October 12, 2016
And, of course, the liberal media’s dismissal of other victims of sexual assault and abuse:
@mega2e Imagine, if you can, what it was like to be Juanita Broaddrick and raped by Bill Clinton
— Victoria Balfour (@VickiBalfour) October 13, 2016
@mega2e Still wondering why you never bothered to interview Juanita Broaddrick on your story about Bill Clinton’s victims….
— Victoria Balfour (@VickiBalfour) October 12, 2016
— Stop the Corruption (@cwiginton61) October 12, 2016
And, perhaps most fundamentally, with the media source itself:
— Cindy Temple (@Cindypreneur) October 12, 2016
— New York Mom (@dancingqueen905) October 13, 2016
Let me be clear: I’m not making a commentary on the women featured in The New York Times’ new revelation. The kind of unwanted touching they describe is not acceptable — and if they were subject to it, that is truly condemnable.
Equally, it’s not acceptable to smear someone’s reputation for political gain — or any other reason, for that matter. (And shameful, as well, to use individuals as pawns in such an effort.)
The unfortunate situation that has come to a head in this election cycle, however, is that much of our media has been caught pushing their own agendas — and, at times, resorting to spreading falsehoods to do so. Again, I am not accusing these women of such; my point is that — as evidenced by some of the comments above, our public has lost faith in its ability to rely on our press for honest and balanced reporting. As such, this type of reporting, coming from a source evidenced to be in collusion with one candidate, at this critical juncture in the election cycle — naturally arouses suspicion and even flat-out doubt.
With election day still weeks away, we already have at least two big losers from the 2016 election — the media, who have lost all credibility with the American people, and the American people, who have lost its free and objective press.
[This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]