“It was heartbreaking last year. We’re private citizens and for us to put ourselves out there to try and show America who this man is and how he views women, and for them to say ‘Eh, we don’t care,’ it hurt,” said Samantha Holvey, a former Miss North Carolina winner, who claims Trump walked into the dressing rooms during the Miss United States pageant in 2006, when she was competing for the title.
Holvey was joined on the show by Rachel Crooks and Jessica Leeds. Both Crooks and Leeds told the New York Times in an Oct. 2016 report that Trump allegedly touched them inappropriately without their permission — the former, in 2005, and the latter, in the 1970s.
“Where do we draw the line as women coming together in this country saying no, we don’t want to be treated like that anymore?” Holvey said. “We no longer accept this, it’s happened long enough. No. When does that happen?”
Each woman also recounted her allegations against the now president, which he has denied.
Holvey first met Trump— the then-owner of the Miss Universe Organization — backstage at the Miss USA pageant. During what Holvey said she thought would be a meet and greet, Trump looked at her “like I was a piece of meat,” she claimed. “I was not a human being I didn’t have a brain I didn’t have a personality, I was just simply there for his pleasure. And it left me feeling very gross, very dirty like this is not what I signed up for,” she added.
She then claimed he came backstage again during the competition’s final round, while the women were just wearing robes: “Miss USA wasn’t my first pageant…every other pageant I’ve ever competed in, the directors never came backstage — male or female.”
She also added that, “No one dreams of being ogled when you’re a little girl wanting to wear a crown.”
Crooks was working as a receptionist at a company in Trump Tower in 2005 during her alleged encounter with the then-businessman.
“I decided to introduce myself because I did see him regularly and he shook my hand and he kind of gave me the normal double cheek kiss but then he held onto my hand and he kept kissing me…and then he kissed me on the lips,” Crooks, who was 22 at the time, alleged.
“I was shocked, devastated. It happened so fast I guess and I wish I would have been courageous enough to be like, ‘What’s going on? You need to stop this,’ but I think ultimately he got on his elevator and I ran back into the office.”
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She said she also felt uncomfortable reporting her allegation to her boss because Trump was a partner of the organization. “For me to say anything to them about it, I knew that wouldn’t do anything for me. If anything I probably would have lost my job,” Crooks said.
Crooks went on to allege Trump later asked for her phone number, claiming he would have his modeling agency call her. “I was just so uncomfortable and a little threatened, like I didn’t have a choice in agreeing to do that,” she continued. “I wish I had been stronger then. I feel differently now. I like to think things would be a lot different now.”
Leeds claimed last October that Trump had groped her in the 1970s on an airplane.
Recounting the alleged incident, Leeds said she was seated next to Trump on a first-class flight to New York when “all of a sudden he’s all over me, kissing and groping and groping and kissing.”
Asked why she came chose to come forward with the allegations after remaining silent about them for decades, she replied, “I wanted people to know what kind of person that Trump really is. What a pervert he is.”
She also claimed that years later she ran into Trump and he called her a “c—.”
In response to the allegations, the White House told Today in a statement : “These false claims, totally disputed in most cases by eyewitness accounts, were addressed at length during last year’s campaign, and the American people voiced their judgement by delivering a decisive victory. The timing and absurdity of these false claims speaks volumes and the publicity tour that has begun only further confirms the political motives behind them.”
Trump also previously denied the women’s accounts.
Holvey said that as the list of allegations made against powerful men in Hollywood and politics has grown over the past few months, women have to take a stand.
Asked whether she thought an ethics probe would be appropriate, Crooks replied, “I think that’s fair. They were more than willing to do that for Sen. [Al] Franken. Why is the president immune to that?”