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A man who's been accused of groping a woman on a Southwest flight says he did so because Donald Trump "says it's okay to grab women by their private parts"

By Maura Hohman
October 23, 2018 01:29 PM
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A Florida man was arrested after he allegedly groped a woman’s breasts during a Southwest flight on Sunday — and he reportedly used President Donald Trump as justification for his actions.

According to an affidavit obtained by USA Today, on a flight from Houston to Albuquerque, Bruce Alexander, 49, allegedly grabbed the right breast of a woman sitting in front of him after she’d fallen asleep about 20 minutes after take-off. The female passenger initially “felt her clothes move and a touching of fingers… around her bra line,” but assumed it was an accident, the court documents state.

UN General Assembly, New York, USA - 25 Sep 2018
Donald Trump
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About 30 minutes later, it happened again. She then told the man behind her that “she didn’t know why he thought it was ok [to touch her] and that he needed to stop,” according to the documents. She also requested that the flight crew move her to a different seat, which they did, local outlet KHOU reported.

Alexander — who is reportedly a total stranger to the woman — was then arrested. While in police custody, he reportedly told authorities, “The president of the United States says it’s okay to grab women by their private parts.”

It was not immediately clear if Alexander had retained an attorney.

The suspect’s comments appear to be a reference to a leaked 2005 conversation between Donald Trump and Access Hollywood‘s Billy Bush, which was caught on a hot microphone.

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Donald Trump and Billy Bush from the Access Hollywood tape

On the tape, which was obtained by The Washington Post in 2016 and published shortly before the presidential election, Trump can be heard bragging about grabbing women “by the p—y.”

“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful [women] — I just start kissing them,” Trump said on the tape, which was recorded several months after he married his third wife, Melania, in January 2005. “It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”

“And when you’re a star they let you do it,” Trump said. “You can do anything.”

“Grab them by the p—y,” he added. “You can do anything.”

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That scandal was followed by accusations of sexual harassment or assault from multiple women, including PEOPLE writer Natasha Stoynoff — who alleges Trump attacked her in 2005 by pushing her up against a wall at Mar-a- Lago and shoving his tongue down her throat.

Trump, New York, USA - 26 Sep 2018
Donald Trump
| Credit: Evan Vucci/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Another woman, Jessica Leeds, 75, has alleged that 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. Trump has denied all the allegations against him.

Leeds told PEOPLE in February that she was still waiting for Trump to pay the price for what he allegedly did to her.

“Things just seem to fall off of Trump, I’m extremely disappointed,” she said.