Donald Trump on Thursday spoke out against claims that he has assaulted women by defiantly attacking his accusers and the media outlets who printed their stories.
At a raucous rally in Florida, the GOP nominee denied all of the allegations, saying: “These vicious claims of inappropriate conduct about me with women are totally and absolutely false.”
He also attacked media reports of the alleged abuse, including one by PEOPLE writer Natasha Stoynoff, as “lies.”
But PEOPLE stands by Stoynoff’s story of being assaulted by Trump in 2005 while on assignment for the magazine.
The following is a statement by PEOPLE Editor in Chief Jess Cagle:
We are grateful to Natasha Stoynoff for telling her story. Ms. Stoynoff is a remarkable, ethical, honest and patriotic woman, and she has 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.
It is heartbreaking that her fear of retaliation by Trump kept her from reporting the incident when it happened. She has carried this secret for more than a decade, and we hope that by coming forward now she is relieved of that burden.