Sexual harassment became a major focus of the 2016 presidential campaign in the fall of that year, after numerous women accused then-candidate Donald Trump of sexual misconduct and an old video surfaced of Trump bragging about committing sexual assault. Now, another woman has just gone public about how she experienced this news in a very personal manner. Former Trump campaign staffer Alva Johnson alleged that Trump kissed her at a campaign event in a new lawsuit, according to The Washington Post.
Trump has repeatedly and categorically denied all allegations of sexual misconduct against him, and the White House issued a statement to The Post saying that Johnson's allegation "never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible eye witness accounts.” Bustle has reached out for additional comment.
According to a lawsuit that Johnson filed, the alleged incident took place on Aug. 24, 2016 as Trump was coming out of an RV at the site of a rally in Tampa, Florida. Johnson claimed that Trump took hold of her hand and moved in to kiss her on the lips, but when she turned her head to avoid that, he instead kissed her on the side of her mouth.
It was “super-creepy and inappropriate," Johnson told The Post.
“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.”
Less than two months later, The Post published the bombshell story about a 2005 Access Hollywood tape, in which Trump had been recorded bragging about carrying out acts very similar to what Johnson alleged.
“I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her,” Trump said in the tape, referring to a woman in the video. “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”
The next lines from the video would later morph into a rallying cry for Trump's critics.
“And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything,” Trump said. “Grab them by the p***y. You can do anything.”
“I felt sick to my stomach. That was what he did to me,” Johnson told The Post of her reaction to the Access Hollywood tape.
While Johnson reportedly told the story to several people at the time — including her boyfriend, her therapist, and her mother and stepfather, according to The Post — there are also eyewitness accounts disputing hers. Pam Bondi, who was the Florida attorney general at the time, and Karen Giorno, who directed Trump's Florida campaign, both told The Post that they saw the interaction and that nothing inappropriate took place.
In the past, Trump has claimed that women making allegations of sexual misconduct against him only do so for "fame" or "money."
"People want fame. They want money. When I see [false charges], I view it differently," Trump said in the context of the Brett Kavanaugh hearings in fall 2018. "It's happened to me many times. I've had many false charges."