A People magazine staffer is accusing Donald Trump of sexual assault after coming forward with her disturbing encounter with the Republican nominee.
Natasha Stoynoff — an author and former Toronto Star journalist — visited Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in the early 2000s to interview the businessman-turned-politician for an upcoming piece about his wedding anniversary. A quick tour of Trump’s residence would quickly turn into a shocking series of events that discredits the U.S. presidential hopeful’s assertion that he does not kiss women without their consent.
“We walked into that room alone, and Trump shut the door behind us. I turned around, and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat,” Stoynoff recalled. “I was stunned. And I was grateful when Trump’s longtime butler burst into the room a minute later, as I tried to unpin myself.”
“In those few minutes alone with Trump, my self-esteem crashed to zero…I tried to act normal. I had a job to do, and I was determined to do it,” she continued. “The butler left us, and I fumbled with my tape recorder. Trump smiled and leaned forward. ‘You know we’re going to have an affair, don’t you?’”
Stoynoff noted that “it didn’t seem to register to him in the slightest that what he’d done might have hurt or offended me, or his wife.”
Her story would take on a much darker tone when she arrived for her massage at Mar-a-Lago 30 minutes late. Trump, who had booked a special appointment on Stoynoff’s behalf after she failed to secure one herself, was waiting for the journalist before he was forced to leave for a meeting.
“But why was he here?” she wondered.
“The therapist shrugged. I lay on the massage table, but my eyes were on the doorknob the entire time. He’s going to show up and this guy’s going to let him in with me half-naked on a table. I cut the session short, got dressed and left for the airport.”
“I asked to be taken off the Trump beat, and I never interviewed him again…During the presidential debate, Donald Trump lied about kissing women without their consent. I should know. His actions made me feel bad for a very long time.”
“They still do,” she added.
A spokesperson for Trump insists that Stoynoff’s story “never happened. There is no merit or veracity to this fabricated story.”
According to Stoynoff, her encounter with Trump occurred three months after his lewd conversation with Billy Bush.
Stoynoff joins at least three other women who have accused Trump of sexual assault.
People magazine editor-in-chief Jess Cagle has come out to defend Stoynoff as critics accuse her of lying. “We are grateful to Natasha Stoynoff for telling her story,” Cagle wrote. “Ms. Stoynoff is a remarkable, ethical, honest and patriotic woman, and she shared her story of being physically attacked by Donald Trump in 2005 because she felt it was her duty to make the public aware. To assign any other motive is a disgusting, pathetic attempt to victimize her again.”
“We stand steadfastly by her, and are proud to publish her clear, credible account of what happened,” he added.