Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump dismissed the wave of sexual harassment allegations against him as “absolutely false” on Thursday. He called the women behind the claims “horrible liars.”
Trump has been accused of forcibly kissing and groping several women on different occasions. On Wednesday, many reports revealed a long list of women who said the real estate mogul had sexually assaulted them.
“These vicious claims about me of inappropriate conduct with women are totally and absolutely false,” the 70-year-old billionaire said Thursday at a rally in Ohio. “I’ve never met these people. I don't even know who they are. They're made-up stories.”
He added his rival Hillary Clinton and her husband former President Bill are aware that the reports are false. Trump said he would at some point release evidence that would dispute the women’s claims.
The Republican nominee said the allegations were part of a plan to keep him out of the Oval Office.
The Trump campaign had already dismissed the allegations calling a report by the New York Times on the sexual assault claims a work of “fiction.”
“… For the New York Times to launch a completely false, coordinated character assassination against Mr. Trump on a topic like this is dangerous,” Trump campaign’s Senior Communications Advisor Jason Miller said.
Trump took to Twitter to express his contempt for the report, calling it a “phony story.”
First Lady Michelle Obama said Thursday Trump’s boasts about forcibly groping women’s genitals were “shocking and demeaning.” Obama, while campaigning for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, said, “Leaders should meet a basic standard of human decency.”
The First Lady has never mentioned Trump by name in her speeches but made her target obvious with her references.
She added that seeing Trump make lewd comments on women in a 2005 video released by the Washington Post last week had “shaken me to my core in a way that I cannot have predicted.”
“This was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior, and actually bragging about kissing and groping women, using language so obscene that many of us were worried about our children hearing it when we turn on the TV,” the First Lady said.
“It’s one of countless examples of how he has treated women his whole life... The shameful comments about our bodies, the disrespect of our ambitions and intellect, the belief that you can do anything you want to a woman — it is cruel,” she added, her voice reportedly cracking with emotion.
Meanwhile, at a rally in West Palm Beach, Florida, Trump told supporters the reports were “a conspiracy against the American people” by the political and media establishment. He added that the media “will seek to destroy your career and your family.”
Trump has suffered a slump in opinion polls after the leak of the 2005 video. A Reuters/Ipsos survey showed one in five Republicans thought Trump’s comments about groping women made him unfit for presidency. He trailed 8 percentage points behind Clinton in the poll. Several senior Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, have condemned the former reality TV star for his comment but stopped short of unendorsing him.