A campaign staffer on President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign alleges that he kissed her without her consent, according to a new lawsuit against the president.
Speaking with the Washington Post, former Trump staffer Alva Johnson claimed the president grabbed her hand and moved to kiss her on her lips as he exited an RV during an August 2016 rally in Tampa, FL. Johnson claims she quickly turned her head, and the president’s unwanted kiss landed awkwardly “on the side of her mouth,” according to the Post. Johnson called the kiss “super-creepy and inappropriate.”
“I immediately felt violated because I wasn’t expecting it or wanting it,” Johnson told the Post. “I can still see his lips coming straight for my face.”
“This accusation is absurd on its face,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “This never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible eye witness accounts.” Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Trump’s Florida campaign director Karen Giorno—both of whom Johnson claims witnessed the attempted kiss—told the Post that they didn’t see the alleged kiss.
In the lawsuit against Trump, which the Post says it reviewed a draft copy of, alleges emotional pain and suffering. She also reportedly claims that she was the victim of discriminatory treatment, such as receiving less pay as her white counterparts because she is black.
“I’ve tried to let it go,” Johnson told the Post. “You want to move on with your life. I don’t sleep. I wake up at 4 in the morning looking at the news. I feel guilty. The only thing I did was show up for work one day.”
Johnson’s is the first allegation of sexual impropriety against Trump during the 2016 campaign itself. Trump has repeatedly been accused of a host of sexually predatory behaviors, and admitted to sexually assaulting women in the now-infamous Access Hollywood tape, in which be bragged about being able to grab women “by the pussy.”
According to the Post, Johnson’s boyfriend, mother, and stepfather have confirmed that she told them about the alleged incident later that day. The Post also obtained notes from Johnson’s therapist, which reference a traumatic event she claims to have experienced during the campaign. Nevertheless, she reportedly continued to work for the campaign for several months after the incident.
Johnson told the paper she grew emboldened to take action over her alleged assault by watching the #MeToo movement grow in strength, as well as seeing some of the Trump administration’s more abhorrent policies come to fruition.
“Babies in cages,” Johnson told the Post. “I didn’t think it was going to be this bad.”