One Trump accuser says she plans to flee the country
Trump and his campaign have doubled down on attempts to smear and discredit his accusers.
One of the women who alleges Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump groped her, Mindy McGillivray, told the Palm Beach Post she intends to leave the country because she fears for her safety.
McGillivray came forward on Wednesday, saying she was outraged by Trump’s denial in the debate that he had grabbed women’s genitals without permission, as he had bragged about doing it in a 2005 clip captured by a hot mic. Thirteen years ago, McGillivray alleges Trump did just that — grabbing her butt while she was helping a photographer at an event at Mar-a-Lago.
Immediately after the incident, she says she pulled aside Ken Davidoff, who confirmed the story, and told him, “Donald just grabbed my ass!”
Since telling her story to the press, however, McGillivray says she has come to fear for her and her family’s safety. According to the Post, she’s been staying at a hotel, but when she returned to the house she shares with her daughter and stepfather, she was frightened by the attention her story has garnered.
“I look out the window and there are cars just driving around the house and looking, slowing down right at the house,’’ she said. “I don’t live in a gated community. This is dangerous. There could be people out there who want to hurt us.’’
Trump supporters have shown their willingness to follow Trump’s rhetoric with violence before: Protesters at Trump rallies, often people of color, have been punched, kicked, and choked. Riled up by Trump’s repeated statement that the election is “rigged” and is being stolen from him, supporters at a Trump rally in Cincinnati openly mused about assassinating Hillary Clinton and starting a “coup.” On Thursday, two legally armed Trump supporters stood outside a Hillary Clinton campaign office for hours, saying they were protesting.
And, as more and more women come forward with allegations of groping and non-consensual sexual contact, the Trump campaign has doubled down on tried-and-true silencing tactics, attempting to discredit and smear the accusers, and accusing them of trying to negatively impact Trump’s chances of the Presidency.
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Trump and his campaign have flatly denied that any of the allegations are true; when a New York Times reporter asked the candidate for comment on two of the women’s stories, he began shouting at the reporter and called her a “disgusting human being.”
Surrogates have also floated debunked theories meant to discredit the women and questioned the “timing” of the allegations, insinuating that the women are making up stories in search of fame, money, or have political motivations. The campaign has threatened to sue news outlets for printing the stories, and signaled they might sue individual women.
This is exactly the treatment that keeps so many victims of sexual assault and harassment from speaking out. Many victims say they initially kept quiet because out of fear that they wouldn’t be believed, that nothing would change, or they’d be punished for speaking up.
Trump himself has repeatedly implied that the women are lying because they’re not attractive enough to merit assault.
“Take a look. You take a look,” Trump said at a rally Thursday about People writer Natasha Stoynoff, who alleges Trump pushed her against a wall and forcibly kissed her at Mar-a-Lago. “Look at her, look at her words, you tell me what you think. I don’t think so.”
And at a rally on Friday, Trump doubled down. Referring to Jessica Leeds, who told the New York Times that Trump grabbed her breasts and genitals on a plane more than 30 years ago, Trump said, “believe me, she would not be my first choice, that I can tell you. Man, you don’t know, that would not be my first choice.”
As succinctly stated by the Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN), “Sexual assault is a crime of power and control.” Whether the victims are conventionally attractive has nothing to do with it.
McGillivray’s story describes Trump casually groping her butt while standing next to his wife, Regis Philbin and his wife, while watching Ray Charles say his goodbyes backstage. Another woman, Kristin Anderson, told the Washington Post that Trump casually reached up her skirt and touched her vagina while she was sitting next to him at a club.
“I don’t know why he did it. It was like just to prove that he could do it, and nothing would happen,” Anderson told the Post.
On the 2005 Access Hollywood tapes, Trump openly bragged that his status and power allowed him to get away with predatory behavior: “When you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything.”