Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump emphatically denied allegations today that he sexually assaulted women, attacking the news organizations that published the reports and assailing Hillary Clinton’s campaign for what he said was its role in perpetuating the claims.
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“These vicious claims about me of inappropriate conduct with women are totally and absolutely false,” Trump said at a campaign event in West Palm Beach, Florida.
“And the Clintons know it. And they know it very well,” he continued. “These claims are all fabricated. They’re pure fiction. And they’re outright lies. These events never, ever happened. And the people that said them fully understand.”
Trump claimed to have “substantial evidence to dispute these lies” and said he would make them “public in an appropriate way and at an appropriate time, very soon.”
The New York Times, The Palm Beach Post and People magazine all published stories Wednesday evening with accounts from women who said Trump kissed, grabbed or groped them on separate occasions dating back to the 1980s.
He slammed the reports as a “concerted, coordinated and vicious attack” by the Clinton campaign and the media. He said the accounts are “preposterous, ludicrous and defy truth, common sense and logic.”
Jessica Leeds told The New York Times that Trump touched her on a first-class flight to New York more than 30 years ago. She recalled that he put his hands “everywhere” and “he was like an octopus.”
He said of her account, “Another ridiculous tale. No witnesses. No nothing.”
People magazine reporter Natasha Stoynoff, in a first-person account, recalled how she interviewed Trump and his wife, Melania Trump, at his Mar-a-Lago Florida estate in 2005. During a break in the interview, he allegedly forced her against a wall and tried to kiss her.
Donald Trump responded to Stoynoff’s story by pointing out the “area was a public area -- people all over the place.”
“Look at her. Look at her words,” he said. “You tell me what you think. I don’t think so. I don’t think so.”
Stoynoff claims Trump took her into a room alone when he assaulted her. ABC News has not been able to reach her for comment.
Trump questioned the timing of these sexual assault stories.
“These people are horrible people. They’re horrible, horrible liars,” he said of the women accusing him. “And interestingly, it happens to appear 26 days before our very important election.”
Many attendees at the rally expressed doubt at the claims. Pat Mastrogiacomo, a Trump supporter in today's crowd, decried the reports as being planted by the Clinton campaign. When asked where she believed the reports were coming from she replied, "Hillary! Crooked Hillary!"
"I don't believe any of them," said Mastrogiacomo of the allegations. "Something could’ve happened, but not the way they’re fabricated things to make him look very bad. You know? It could’ve been anything but they’re making it look worse than it is. Almost every man talks locker room talk."
Asked how she would feel if even one of the accusations proved true, Mastrogiacomo shrugged.
"I still would vote for him," she said. "It has nothing to do with how the man is going to run the country."