US Elections 2016: Final countdown

Trump claims to be a victim of vicious lies

Left; Mr Trump addressing supporters in Cincinnati, Ohio. Above: Mrs Obama at Southern New Hampshire University.
Mr Trump addressing supporters in Cincinnati, Ohio. PHOTOS: REUTERS, EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
Left; Mr Trump addressing supporters in Cincinnati, Ohio. Above: Mrs Obama at Southern New Hampshire University.
Above: Mrs Obama at Southern New Hampshire University.PHOTOS: REUTERS, EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

He lashes out at US media outlets, political establishment over allegations of sex assaults

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump cast himself as a victim of "vicious claims" on the campaign trail, lashing out at US media outlets for reporting allegations that he had sexually assaulted women, while Mrs Hillary Clinton accused Mr Trump of "stalking" her during their televised debate.

Mrs Clinton told NBC's The Ellen DeGeneres Show, in an interview that was to be aired yesterday, that his movements made her feel "really weird".

"Because of the revelation of the public video, and everything that came out on Access Hollywood, you know, he was really all wrought up, and you could just sense how much anger he had," she said, referring to a video showing Mr Trump making lewd comments about women. "He was really trying to dominate and then literally stalk me around the stage."

Mr Trump has rejected the criticism that surfaced in the wake of the second presidential debate last Sunday. "So I'm standing at my podium by my chair. She walks across the room. She's standing in front of me, right next to me," he said in a rally on Tuesday. "And the next day... what did the papers say? They said, 'he invaded her space'. Believe me, the last space that I want to invade is her space."

At least six women have come forward to say they were groped or sexually assaulted by Mr Trump. The most recent claims appeared in the New York Times and People magazine. Speaking to supporters on Thursday in West Palm Beach, Florida, Mr Trump said: "These claims are all fabricated. They're pure fiction and they're outright lies."

 
 

Addressing the claim that he had groped a woman on a plane more than 30 years ago, he said: "Another ridiculous tale, no witnesses, no nothing." Responding to the accusations of a physical attack by a former People magazine reporter, Mr Trump questioned why the writer had not included the allegations in her story at the time, saying it would have been "one of the biggest stories of the year".

His wife, Mrs Melania Trump, has called parts of this account "false and completely fictionalised" and threatened to take legal action.

Mr Trump also slammed the entrenched political establishment and "corporate media" for the attacks on him, saying: "The Washington establishment, and the financial and media corporations that fund it, exists for only one reason: to protect and enrich itself."

The New York Times, meanwhile, issued a lawyer's letter yesterday stating it would not retract its recent story featuring two women who said Mr Trump had touched them inappropriately. The Times letter stated: "Nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr Trump, through his own words and actions, has already created for himself."

Hitting back in New Hampshire on Thursday, First Lady Michelle Obama made a passionate speech denouncing Mr Trump's lewd comments about women.

"I can't believe I'm saying a candidate for president of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women," said Mrs Obama.

"I listened to all of this, and I feel it so personally," she added. "The shameful comments about our bodies. The disrespect of our ambitions and intellect. The belief that you can do anything you want to a woman. That is cruel. It's frightening. And the truth is, it hurts."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2016, with the headline 'Trump claims to be a victim of vicious lies'. Print Edition | Subscribe