A 1997 Miss USA contestant is joining the slew of women speaking out against Donald Trump for unwanted sexual advances, alleging that the Republican candidate unexpectedly kissed her on the lips on at least two occasions.
Temple Taggart McDowell, a former Miss Utah, told The New York Times earlier this year that Trump kissed her on the lips during the pageant. In a new interview with NBC, she alleges multiple disturbing encounters occurring when she was 21 years old.
The unwanted contact began the first time Taggart McDowell met the now 70-year-old business mogul, she said. After the contestant’s father introduced himself and his daughter to Trump at a pageant rehearsal, the GOP nominee immediately embraced her and planted a kiss on her lips.
Taggart McDowell recalled that she was “shocked” and “embarrassed” by the forward gesture.
“I was very young, and I remember feeling kind of embarrassed, like wanting to turn and almost wipe my mouth. Like, what just happened?”
A similar incident occurred when Taggart McDowell went to New York City under Trump’s invitation to help her secure modeling contracts, she told NBC. Again, the real estate mogul kissed her on the lips, this time in front of two pageant chaperones and a receptionist, she said.
A woman who had accompanied Taggart McDowell to the appointment allegedly told her not to go into a room alone with Trump, who was married to Marla Maples at the time.
Although Taggart McDowell wondered if this was a usual greeting for Trump, she did find the gesture “super uncomfortable.”
“I would never approach or greet anybody like that unless it was somebody that I had been dating,” she said.
Trump responded to Taggart’s accusation by denying he knew her.
“I don’t even know who she is,” Trump reportedly told NBC. “She claims this took place in a public area. I never kissed her. I emphatically deny this ridiculous claim.”
Multiple women have come out with personal stories damning Trump in the past two days, including a PEOPLE writer and two women who opened up to The New York Times about inappropriate actions by the presidential candidate. Trump has emphatically denied the details in both articles, and a lawyer for the candidate sent a letter to the Times demanding a retraction of their story.
Meanwhile, Taggart McDowell said having a daughter of her own makes Trump’s actions even more unsettling.
“It’s really hard because you think of sending your little daughter out there with men that think like that,” she said, wiping away tears. “You look at your sweet, little, innocent daughter and you just think, ‘This is the world I’m raising her in and this is the type of men that exist out there.’ ”
Her message to her children is to never let someone make them feel uncomfortable.
She said, “I don’t care what you have to do — you just get yourself out of the situation.”