On Friday, a former Fox News host alleged that in 2005, more than a decade prior to launching his political career, President Donald Trump attempted to kiss her on the lips unexpectedly. The host, Juliet Huddy, says Trump tried to kiss her on the lips following a lunch the pair shared at Trump Tower in New York City, and that while she brushed it off at the time, she's since matured and would have objected to his behavior more strongly. Trump has not yet publicly responded to her claim.
Huddy, 48, was formerly an on-air personality at Fox News, and at the time Trump attempted to kiss her she was hosting the channel's eponymous morning show Fox and Friends. The show was one of the early ways Trump dipped his toes into the political realm, as he'd be a regular call-in guest on the show throughout the Obama administration, and he's openly gushed about his affinity for the program. As Emily Smith detailed for Page Six on Friday, Huddy told her story about Trump on an online show hosted by fellow former Fox News personality Bill Schulz.
He took me for lunch at Trump Tower, just us two. He said goodbye to me in an elevator while his security guy was there, rather than kiss me on the cheek he leaned in to kiss me on the lips. I wasn’t offended, I was kind of like, "Oh my god."
It's worth noting that Huddy is not alleging that she felt threatened by Trump. In fact, quite the contrary ― in a tweet she sent out on Friday afternoon, after her story had started kicking around the mainstream media and social media alike, she stressed that she was “neither offended nor threatened” by his behavior at the time, although she has since been offended by his comments on “other matters.”
Trump was accused of various forms of boundary-crossing and sexually predatory behavior throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, with more than a dozen women coming forward with stories of non-consensual groping and kissing. Trump vehemently denied the allegations, calling his multiple accusers “horrible, horrible liars” on the campaign trail.
In the now-infamous Access Hollywood tape that came out in October of last year, however, he boasted about kissing and grabbing women’s genitals. He subsequently claimed he’d never actually done any of those things, brushing off his own past words as “locker room talk.”
Although Huddy said she was not threatened by Trump, she is clearly willing to lodge accusations of misconduct against powerful men when she feels the situation calls for it. In 2011, according to The New York Times, Huddy was one of the multiple women who reached a settlement with Fox News over an alleged history of sexual harassment by Bill O’Reilly, the former host of The O’Reilly Factor. O'Reilly has long denied wrongdoing, saying he's only settled sexual harassment cases to protect his family.
Six years later, O’Reilly was fired from his job as the channel’s top-rated host. He has since described his ousting from Fox News as a “hit job,” which has led to a defamation suit being brought by one of the other accusers he settled with, Rachel Bernstein. Bernstein's suit alleges that O'Reilly has defamed her while she's prohibited from responding thanks to a non-disclosure agreement. A lawyer for O'Reilly told CNN the suit has "absolutely no merit."
As for Trump, he continues to staunchly deny any allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior, even as various members of Congress in both parties have been forced out of office for similar behavior as what’s been alleged of him. Back in October, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated that the White House’s official position on the matter is that all of Trump’s accusers are lying.