Donald Trump pushed back aggressively on Thursday against what he called “false smears” from women who claimed unwanted advances, seeking to stabilize his campaign as Michelle Obama declared “it doesn’t matter what party you belong to, no woman deserves to be treated this way.”
The dueling addresses showed how the race had been galvanized by reports of Trump’s behavior with the election less than four weeks away, with Trump calling the disclosures a “horror show of lies” as they increasingly consumed his campaign.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday night that two women said Trump had touched them inappropriately, groping them and kissing them forcefully in ways that echoed the boasts he made of being able to sexually assault women on a 2005 recording released last week.
Other news organizations, including The Palm Beach Post, BuzzFeed and People magazine, reported stories about women who had troubling encounters with Trump. He has said that he never acted on his “locker room talk” captured in the 2005 video.
In a series of messages posted on Twitter on Thursday morning, Trump said that the article in The Times was a “total fabrication” and denied the incident described by Natasha Stoynoff, a former writer for People, who said that Trump had forced his tongue down her throat while she was working on an assignment for the magazine about his first anniversary with his wife, Melania.
At a rally Thursday in West Palm Beach, Florida, Trump lashed out at the news media for buttressing Hillary Clinton’s campaign, calling the reports about his inappropriate behavior “false smears.”
Trump also threatened to take legal action on Wednesday night in response to the new allegations and threatened, through his lawyer, to sue The Times for libel if it did not retract the article and apologize.
The Times has said it will not retract the article and welcomed the opportunity to take the matter to court.
The Clinton campaign said that the latest revelations were more evidence that Trump was unfit to be president and showed that he lied on the debate stage on Sunday night.