In a story in the Washington Post, a former campaign staffer named Alva Johnson has detailed a lawsuit in which she alleges that then-candidate Donald Trump made unwanted sexual contact with her while on the campaign trail. According to the Post, Johnson, an event planner from Alabama, approached lawyers in June of last year about the incident, though she’d considered coming forward since October 2016. She said it took her so long because she “tried to let [the incident] go,” but that when she realized the alleged behavior seemed to fit a pattern of Mr. Trump’s, she decided to make her case public.
The allegation hems close to what previous Trump accusers have detailed. On August 24, 2016, a few months before he would win the election, Johnson was working at a Trump campaign event in Tampa, Florida. According to the Post, Johnson led a group of volunteers into an RV to meet the candidate, and on the way out he approached her. Here’s the Post:
Johnson brought volunteers into the RV to take pictures with Trump. She noticed that Trump was attempting to make eye contact with her, she said in the interviews and lawsuit. When it was time for the rally, Johnson said Trump passed her as he exited the RV.
“I’ve been on the road for you since March, away from my family,” she told him, according to the lawsuit. “You’re doing an awesome job. Go in there and kick ass.”
Trump grasped her hand, thanked her for her work and leaned in, she said.
“Oh, my God, I think he’s going to kiss me,” she said in an interview, describing the moment. “He’s coming straight for my lips. So I turn my head, and he kisses me right on corner of my mouth, still holding my hand the entire time. Then he walks on out.”
The White House, through Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, denied the allegations, with Sanders calling them “off-base and unfounded.” The two women who Johnson said witnessed the encounter denied seeing any inappropriate behavior. But family members and Johnson’s boyfriend remember her shock when she called them about the incident when it happened, and the Post looked at notes from a therapist who saw Johnson and which corroborate her version of events.
The allegation mirrors what Trump would be heard saying on the now-infamous, circa-2005 Access Hollywood tapes, which came to light six weeks after the alleged incident: “I just start kissing them...Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it.” (You may recall that he also said some other things.)
Further, this allegation is not far from what Summer Zervos—the former Apprentice contestant who filed a defamation lawsuit against Trump—has alleged. Zervos' allegations include unwanted kissing and groping (you can read them in further detail at NBC News, here). And, in fact, Zervos and Johnson are among at least 19 women who have come forward to accuse Trump of sexual misconduct since the 1980s.
With Mueller’s investigation, the Zervos case, and the New York Attorney General investigation into Trump’s foundation, the President has a lot of legal worries at the moment. Though these allegations of unwanted sexual advances aren’t new, they remain a focal point in a presidency that has been marked by obfuscation and outright lying. The extent to which Trump allegedly harassed and humiliated women may never be fully understood, but it’s admirable that women like Johnson are still willing to come forward to accuse a powerful man.
You can read the Post story in full here.
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