WASHINGTON (AFP) - President Donald Trump on Tuesday (Feb 20) denied allegations by a former receptionist that he had kissed her without her consent in an elevator lobby of Trump Tower, calling the story "another false accusation."
Trump was reacting to a front-page report in The Washington Post on how Rachel Crooks, who first made the allegations public before the 2016 elections, has doggedly continued to stand by her story in public appearances, despite not knowing if it will ever make any difference.
Crooks says that in 2006, when she was a 22-year-old receptionist working for an investment firm located in Trump Tower, she introduced herself to the then 59-year-old real estate tycoon as he waited for an elevator outside her office.
She said she approached him with her hand out, and he grabbed it and started kissing her.
"He started kissing me on one cheek, then the other cheek," the newspaper quoted her as telling a group of women.
"He was talking to me in between kisses, asking where I was from, or if I wanted to be a model. He wouldn't let go of my hand, and then he went right in and started kissing me on the lips."
She said the incident lasted around two minutes.
Trump hit back at the allegations on Twitter, saying, "A woman I don't know and, to the best of my knowledge, never met, is on the FRONT PAGE of the Fake News Washington Post saying I kissed her (for two minutes yet!) in the lobby of Trump Tower 12 years ago. Never happened!"
"Who would do this in a public space with live security cameras running," he added, asking why The Washington Post had not reported "the story of the women taking money to make up stories about me?"
Nineteen women have come forward to accuse the president of sexual misconduct over a period of several decades.
Trump's angry denials on Twitter have often served only to exacerbate the debate over his behaviour towards women.