16 Women or Donald Trump—Whom Would You Believe?

16 Women or Donald Trump—Whom Would You Believe?

16 Women or Donald Trump—Whom Would You Believe?

That’s how many women have now accused the president of harassment, assault, and other inappropriate behavior.


If I asked you how many women have reported being sexually harassed or assaulted by President Trump, how many would you say? Five? 10?

No fewer than 16 women have come forward to report being sexually harassed or assaulted by the president. In the latest video from Brave New Films, we put all of their stories together for the first time.

Seeing their stories together is incredibly powerful, and damning. Watch “16 Women and Donald Trump” now.

As a society, we are finally beginning to hold powerful men to account for abusing for their positions and influence to harass and abuse women. But this movement for accountability will ring hollow if it doesn’t apply to the most powerful, and public, sexual harasser in America—the president.

In the post–Harvey Weinstein (or Roy Moore, Louis C.K., etc.) world we live in, we cannot ignore 16 women who over the course of decades in a broad range of situations encountered the same pattern of manipulation, misogyny, harassment and abuse.

We owe it to these women, and to all women, to hold President Trump to account.

Cathy Heller met Trump at a Mother’s Day brunch in 1997. She tells us he forcibly tried to kiss her. “He took my hand, and grabbed me, and went for the lips.”

Jill Harth was getting a tour of Trump’s home in 1993 when, she tells us, he sexually assaulted her in his daughter Ivanka’s bedroom, “pushed me up against the wall, and had his hands all over me and tried to get up my dress again, and I had to physically say: ‘What are you doing? Stop it.’”

Temple Taggart was a 21-year-old competing in the Miss USA pageant in 1997 when she tells us Trump forcibly kissed her. “He kissed me directly on the lips. I thought, ‘Oh my God, gross.’ He was married to Marla Maples at the time. I think there were a few other girls that he kissed on the mouth. I was like ‘Wow, that’s inappropriate.’”

Cassandra Searles, a former Miss Washington, tells us that in 2013 Trump treated the contestants “like cattle” and “continually grabbed my ass and invited me to his hotel room.”

Jessica Leeds sat next to Trump on an airplane in the late 1970s, when she tells us he grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt. “He was like an octopus.” “His hands were everywhere.” “It was an assault.”

Kristin Anderson was at a Manhattan nightclub in the early 1990s when she tells us a man suddenly put his hand up her skirt, touching her genitals. She recognized Trump—someone she had never met. “He just stuck his hand up my skirt.”

Lisa Boyne attended a party in the mid-1990s with Trump, where she tells us he made women walk across a table in front of him. He “stuck his head right underneath their skirts” and commented on their genitals and whether they were wearing underwear.

Karena Virginia encountered Trump at the US Open in 1998 when she tells us Trump approached her at random, made sexual comments about her body, and groped her. “Then his hand touched the right side of my breast. I was in shock. I flinched. ‘Don’t you know who I am? Don’t you know who I am?’—that’s what he said to me.”

Mindy McGillivray was helping photograph a Ray Charles concert at Mar-a-Lago in 2003 when she says she was groped by Trump, “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. I quickly turned back, facing Ray Charles, and I’m stunned.’’

Rachel Crooks was a 22-year-old receptionist in Trump Tower in 2005 when she introduced herself to Trump. She tells us he began kissing her cheeks and “kissed me directly on the mouth.” “It was so inappropriate…. I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that.”

Natasha Stoynoff was interviewing Trump for People magazine in 2005 when, she tells us, he closed the door to a room, with Melania waiting outside, and attacked her. “I turned around, and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat.”

Jessica Drake encountered Trump at a golf tournament in Lake Tahoe in the mid-2000s. She tells us that he “grabbed” her and two other women and kissed them “without asking permission” and then offered her $10,000 and use of his plane if she would come back to his room.

Ninni Laaksonen, a former Miss Finland, was preparing for a TV appearance in 2006 when she tells us Trump groped her, “He really grabbed my butt.” “I don’t think anybody saw it, but I flinched and thought, ‘What is happening?’”

Samantha Holvey, a former Miss North Carolina, tells us that in 2006 Trump came into the contestants’ dressing room and once had the contestants line up so he could step “in front of each girl and look you over from head to toe like we were just meat, we were just sexual objects, that we were not people.”

Tasha Dixon, a former Miss Arizona, tells us that in 2001 Trump “just came strolling right in” to their dressing room. “There was no second to put a robe on or any sort of clothing or anything. Some girls were topless. Others girls were naked.”

Trump in 2005 bragged to Howard Stern about invading his contestants’ dressing rooms, “You know, they’re standing there with no clothes. And you see these incredible-looking women. And so I sort of get away with things like that.”

Summer Zervos, a contestant on The Apprentice, met with Trump in 2007 about getting a job with the Trump Organization. She tells us he greeted her with an “open-mouthed” kiss and groped her breast. As she attempted to push him off, he “thrusted his genitals” against her.

These 16 brave women have faced attacks on their character, and many have been threatened with legal action by Trump in an effort to intimidate and silence them. How many other women have been harassed and abused by our president?

Let’s not forget Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood interview in 2005 in which he bragged about assaulting women. The leader of the free world dropped lines like, “I moved on her like a bitch,” “Just kiss. I don’t even wait,” and “Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

Enough is enough. Now is the time for accountability. No one, no matter how powerful their job, should be able to harass and abuse women with impunity.

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Katrina vanden Heuvel
Editorial Director and Publisher, The Nation

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