President Donald Trump reacted with glee on Wednesday after NBC News announced it had fired Today show anchor Matt Lauer over a sexual misconduct allegation.
“Wow, Matt Lauer was just fired from NBC for ‘inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace,’ ” Trump tweeted. “But when will the top executives at NBC & Comcast be fired for putting out so much Fake News. Check out Andy Lack’s past!”
As Trump celebrated the firing — and simultaneously attempted to pivot the conversation to “fake news” — critics pointed out on Twitter his hypocrisy and Trump’s own accusers awaited justice on at least 12 separate accusations against the president.
PEOPLE writer Natasha Stoynoff — who has accused Trump of attacking her in 2005 by pushing her up against a wall at Mar-a- Lago and shoving his tongue down her throat — tells PEOPLE in an email: “It doesn’t surprise me at all that Mr. Trump would criticize someone else’s inappropriate sexual behavior and not address his own.”
“From what I understand, people who are delusional and narcissistic lack self-awareness and have a need to lash out,” she added.
Another one of the accusers, Melinda McGillivray, 38, tells PEOPLE of Trump’s response to Lauer’s ousting: “Donald is a complete hypocrite; he has the audacity to talk smack about other people when he’s the culprit himself.”
McGillivray, 38, a Florida resident, previously told PEOPLE that Trump gave her rear end “a grab” while she was helping a photographer friend at an event at Mar-a-Lago in 2003.
During this last year, as the recent accusations of sexual misconduct against a long list of powerful men in Hollywood and other industries have been widely believed — and led to resignations, loss of careers and other fallout — some of the women who accused Trump of sexual harassment or assault during his 2016 campaign wonder when the president might finally pay a price for what he allegedly did to them.
“I feel like we were forgotten about and there was no justice, but I do feel he will have his day in court,” McGillivray said.
Meanwhile on Twitter Wednesday, outcry mounted over how Trump has — so far — seemed immune to the allegations against him, all of which he has denied.
Jessica Leeds, 75, who alleges Trump tried to kiss her, fondle her breasts and put his hand up her skirt while on a flight to New York in the early 1980s told PEOPLE recently: “Things just seem to fall off of Trump, I’m extremely disappointed.”
The women’s harrowing stories are backed up in most cases by co-workers, friends or family members.
And then there is Trump’s own words. In early October of last year came the infamous video showing Trump boasting to Billy Bush in 2005 of sexually assaulting women, that because he’s a star he can “grab them by the pussy.” Days later, Trump denied he ever did those things during the second presidential debate and dismissed the comments as “locker room talk.”
And despite admitting on camera that the damning Access Hollywood footage was authentic when he apologized for it during the campaign — “I said it, I was wrong and I apologize,” Trump said in a video statement at the time — the president later suggested to multiple people that the recording was fake, according to a Tuesday report from The New York Times. (Access Hollywood went on record almost immediately on Tuesday to reaffirm that “the tape is very real.”)
In the weeks that followed the release of the Access Hollywood tape, many women alleged on the record that Trump had touched, grabbed or kissed them without their permission. Over the course of his campaign, more than 10 would come forward.
“I feel this issue has been ‘on hold’ all year, but not forgotten,” Stoynoff recently told PEOPLE in an email. “It’s been simmering on the stove with the lid on, like a pressure cooker. But now the heat’s on and it’s going to boil and the lid is going to blast off.”
That blast off may come with help from a defamation lawsuit filed by Summer Zervos, a former Apprentice contestant who has alleged Trump began kissing her very aggressively and put his hand on her breast without her consent in 2007.
Zervos filed the suit after Trump repeatedly called his accusers liars. Through her attorney, Gloria Allred, she declined to be interviewed for this story.
Norm Eisen, former chief White House ethics lawyer for President Barack Obama, says the lawsuit is “critically important” because “the president’s alleged offenses against women, of sexual harassment, sexual assault, are very serious, much more serious than many of those that have resulted in people losing their jobs.
“That should get a full and fair examination,” Eisen says, “and at the moment that lawsuit is the best vehicle we have to do that.”
Trump, meanwhile, has called the ongoing legal case against him “totally fake news. It’s just fake. It’s fake. It’s made-up stuff, and it’s disgraceful.”
In a statement to PEOPLE, his attorney Marc Kasowitz says the lawsuit is “based on allegations of events that never occurred.”
Trump himself has also denied all allegations against him, tweeting last year that the accusations are “100% fabricated and made-up charges.” He also called the charges “false allegations and outright lies” while on the campaign trail last fall.
Stoynoff says Trump should apologize and issue a statement saying “that we are not liars.”
“For Trump and his press secretary to continue to push the false agenda that the women are liars and continue to so cavalierly defame private citizens is outrageous and improper.”