Before today, President Donald Trump had been publicly accused of sexual harassment and/or assault by two dozen women. Most recently, the writer E. Jean Carroll accused Trump of violently sexually assaulting her in the dressing room of a department store more than two decades ago. Now, a new book details dozens of new allegations against Trump.
Esquire published an excerpt today from All the President’s Women: Donald Trump and the Making of a Predator, a new book by reporters Barry Levin and Monique El-Faizy. The book details 43 new allegations of “alleged inappropriate behavior,” according to Esquire, 26 of which involved “unwanted sexual contact.”
While the excerpt covers details various Trump flings and relationships that occurred before, during, and after his relationship with Melania began, a woman named Karen Johnson alleges in the excerpt that, during a New Year’s Eve Party at Mar-a-Lago in the early 2000s, Trump groped and forcibly kissed her without her consent:
At the New Year’s Eve party, Johnson, wearing a black Versace dress, danced with her friends. Shortly after glittering balloons fell from the ceiling at the stroke of midnight, her husband said he wasn’t feeling well and the relative was ready to go. Johnson decided to make a quick trip to the restroom before they headed home. “I hadn’t seen [Trump] that whole entire night,” said Johnson, who was in her late thirties at the time. “I was just walking to the bathroom. I was grabbed and pulled behind a tapestry, and it was him. And I’m a tall girl and I had six-inch heels on, and I still remember looking up at him. And he’s strong, and he just kissed me,” she recounted to us. “I was so scared because of who he was... I don’t even know where it came from. I didn’t have a say in the matter.”
Johnson said Trump then grabbed her hand and said, “You have to help me greet these guests out,” explaining that Melania was upstairs. “So I stood next to him while he greeted some guests out the door,” Johnson said. She didn’t let on that anything was amiss because she didn’t want to create an awkward situation. “I was afraid to say what had happened,” she said. “I didn’t even know how it happened.”
Levine and El-Faizy write that “documentation and photographs” corroborate Johnson’s general description of the night. A friend also said Johnson told him about the incident years before Trump ran for president. Johnson, whose husband was dying of multiple sclerosis, told the reporters that Trump kept pursuing her even after that evening:
In the days after the incident, Trump began pursuing Johnson. “He started calling me. I answered my phone and he said, ‘Do you know who this is?’ And I knew his voice. And I was wondering how he got my phone number,” she said. He called her regularly for the next week or two, she told us, offering to fly her up to New York to visit him. Johnson told Trump she couldn’t because she was taking care of her dying husband. “Don’t worry about it, he’ll never know you were gone,” she said Trump told her. “He said he’d have me back by six o’clock. This was like crazy. He was going to fly me to New York for the day to see him. I said, ‘No, no, no.’” But Trump persisted. When he was in Florida, he called and said he would send a car to bring her to Mar-a-Lago. “I kept saying, ‘No, no, no,’” she said. “I was scared. I didn’t know what to do.”
In time, Johnson said, the calls stopped. She never went back to Mar-a-Lago. She eventually told the relative who was with her at the New Year’s Eve party what had happened, but she never told her dying husband. Years later, Johnson was shocked to hear Trump describing on the Access Hollywood tape exactly what he had done to her. “When he says that thing, ‘Grab them in the pussy,’ that hits me hard because when he grabbed me and pulled me into the tapestry, that’s where he grabbed me—he grabbed me there in my front and pulled me in,” she told us.
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Given that Trump was elected even after the leak of the infamous Access Hollywood tape and several women had already come forward, it’s depressingly difficult to see even a wave of dozens of new allegations having much of an effect. When Carroll’s allegations became public back in June, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded by saying she hadn’t “spent any time” or “paid that much attention” to the allegation. (In the time since, the House has launched an impeachment inquiry into Trump that revolves around the Ukraine whistleblower scandal.)
We’ve reached out to both the White House and Pelosi’s office for comment on the new allegations and will update if and when we receive a response.