Originally published by The 19th
A month before the 2016 presidential election, a leaked tape revealed Donald Trump bragging about grabbing women’s genitals, captured on a hot mic during a 2005 “Access Hollywood” taping. In the immediate aftermath, many condemned his words. That included many Republican politicians who voiced their disapproval and disgust — but quickly returned to backing him. Then, as we know, he won the election.
That year, multiple women spoke out against Trump’s history of sexual misconduct. He responded by calling them “horrible, horrible liars,” denying any and all wrongdoing and insisting that there was a larger plot being orchestrated by Hillary Clinton, his political opponent at the time, and the news media.
Trump often denied the legitimacy of such claims against those in his orbit as well. In 2018, in response to sexual assault allegations against people in his own administration, Trump tweeted: “Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused - life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”
As he runs for president again — and leads in every GOP primary poll — The 19th is pulling together allegations of sexual assault and harassment against him and people who worked for or with him in his campaigns or in his time in the White House. Some resigned only to be later welcomed back into the fold; some have stayed connected to Trump.
Here is what we have found:
- Jessica Leeds told The New York Times in 2016 that, in the late 1970s, Trump, who was a stranger to her, reached his hand up her skirt and grabbed her breasts on a flight to New York. She said he “was like an octopus” and his “hands were everywhere” before she fled to the back of the plane.
- Ivana Trump, Trump’s first wife, accused him in a divorce deposition of raping her in a fit of rage in 1989, when they were married. She later said that she hadn’t meant in a “literal or criminal sense.”
- Kristin Anderson, a photographer and former model, told The Washington Post in 2016 that Trump sat next to her at a nightclub in the early 1990s and reached under her skirt. Anderson said the incident lasted about 30 seconds, but she and her friends were “very grossed out and weirded out.”
- Jill Harth, who worked with Trump in the 1990s, accused him of “attempted rape” in a 1997 complaint. She said that in 1993, Trump tried to kiss her in his daughter’s bedroom at his Mar-a-Lago resort, pushing her against a wall and putting his hand up her dress. She dropped the suit a few weeks after filing it, she said as part of a settlement with Trump in a separate breach of contract case, according to the Associated Press.
- Lisa Boyne, a health food business entrepreneur, told HuffPost in 2016 that she attended a dinner with Trump in 1996 where several women were forced to walk across a table while Trump looked up their skirts and commented on their underwear and bodies. “It was the most offensive scene I’ve ever been a part of,” Boyne said.
- Five former Miss Teen USA contestants told BuzzFeed News in 2016 that in 1997, Trump, the owner of the pageant at the time, unexpectedly walked into the contestants’ dressing room while they were changing, which they found inappropriate. Mariah Billado said she rushed to put on her dress and remembered him saying, “Don’t worry ladies, I’ve seen it all before.” Victoria Hughes said that it was “the most inappropriate time to meet us all for the first time. The youngest girl was 15, and I was the eldest at 19.” The other three women described a similar situation to BuzzFeed anonymously; however, 11 others said they did not recall seeing Trump in the dressing room at all.
- In an April 2005 interview on The Howard Stern Show, when asked about Miss USA and Miss Universe, Trump said he would go backstage before beauty pageant shows, the only man in the room while the women were “standing there with no clothes.” As the owner, “I sort of get away with things like that,” he added. He was not asked about Miss Teen USA in this interview.
- E. Jean Carroll, a writer, said Trump raped her in 1996 in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room. Carroll wrote about the incident in her 2019 memoir called “What Do We Need Men For?” In May, Carroll was awarded $5 million after a jury held Trump liable for sexual abuse and defamation, though not rape.
- Temple Taggart, former Miss Utah, told The New York Times in 2016 that Trump “kissed me directly on the lips” when he met her at the 1997 Miss USA pageant and again when she met with him in Manhattan after he offered to help with her modeling career. Taggart described the incident as “inappropriate” and said her first thought after he kissed her was, “Oh my God, gross.”
- Cathy Heller told The Guardian in 2016 that Trump forcibly kissed her when she attended a Mother’s Day brunch at Mar-a-Lago in the 1990s. Heller said she was “angry and shaken” after the former president ignored her handshake, grabbed her and went for the lips and became angry when she tried to turn her head away.
- Amy Dorris, a former model, said Trump forcibly kissed and groped her in his private box at the U.S. Open tennis championship in 1997. Dorris told The Guardian in 2020 that Trump “shoved his tongue down my throat” and “his hands were very gropey and all over my butt, my breasts, my back, everything.”
- Karena Virginia, a yoga instructor and life coach, told The Washington Post in 2016 that Trump groped her, unexpectedly wrapping his arm around her and touching her breast, in 1998 while she waited for a car outside the U.S. Open.
- Karen Johnson, who was a regular at Mar-a-Lago, said Trump pulled her behind a tapestry to kiss and grope her during a New Year’s Eve party in the early 2000s. Johnson detailed the incident to journalists Barry Levine and Monique El-Faizy, who published it in their 2019 book, “All the President’s Women: Donald Trump and the Making of a Predator,” along with 42 other allegations of sexual misconduct.
- Bridget Sullivan, another former Miss USA contestant, told BuzzFeed News in 2016 that she met Trump at a party promoting the competition, and he hugged her “a little low on your back” and gave “a squeeze that your creepy uncle would.” In a separate instance in 2000, Sullivan said, Trump walked backstage while many of the contestants were naked or getting dressed.
- Tasha Dixon, a former Miss USA contestant, told CBS in 2016 that, in 2001, Trump walked into where she and other contestants were changing. Dixon said she thought Trump “owned the pageant for the reasons to utilize his power to get around beautiful women.”
- Melinda McGillivray told the Palm Beach Post in 2016 that Trump grabbed her butt without her consent in 2003 when they were backstage at a Ray Charles concert at Mar-a-Lago.
- Natasha Stoynoff, a former reporter for People magazine, wrote in 2016 that Trump sexually assaulted her in 2005 while she was visiting Mar-a-Lago to work on a story about his first year of marriage with Melania. When they were alone, Stoynoff said, Trump closed the door and pushed her against the wall before “forcing his tongue down my throat.”
- Juliet Huddy, a former Fox News anchor, said on the “Mornin!!! With Bill Schulz” podcast in 2017 that Trump kissed her unexpectedly and without her consent in Trump Tower in the mid-2000s. Huddy said she “didn’t feel threatened” at the time but later realized she would’ve said no more clearly.
- Rachel Crooks, a former receptionist at Trump Tower, told The New York Times in 2016 that Trump kissed her “directly on the mouth” without consent when she first met him in 2005.
- Samantha Holvey, a former Miss USA contestant, told CNN in 2016 that when she competed in 2006, Trump personally inspected each contestant, looking at them from head to toe like “sexual objects,” which made her feel “the dirtiest I felt in my entire life.”
- Ninni Laaksonen, a model and former Miss Finland, in 2016 told Ilta-Sanomat, a Finnish newspaper, that Trump squeezed her butt in 2006 when they were backstage at the “Late Show with David Letterman.”
- Jessica Drake, an actor in adult films, accused Trump during a 2016 news conference of grabbing her, kissing her without her consent and offering her $10,000 to come to his penthouse hotel room in 2006.
- Summer Zervos, a former contestant on “The Apprentice,” told reporters at a 2016 news conference that Trump sexually assaulted her on two separate occasions in 2007. The first was when she met him and he kissed her on the lips. Later that year, Zervos said Trump grabbed her shoulder, kissed her “aggressively,” placed his hand on her breast and thrust himself on her before she was able to pull away and leave the room.
- Cassandra Searles, a former Miss USA contestant, wrote in a 2016 Facebook post that Trump “continually grabbed my ass and invited me to his hotel room” when she competed in 2013.
- Alva Johnson, a former campaign staff member, alleged in a 2019 lawsuit that Trump grabbed her hand and kissed her on the side of the mouth without her consent during a rally in 2016.
Trump has denied all of the allegations, saying they were lies used to hurt his presidential campaign. When reached for additional comment, Trump’s 2024 campaign declined to comment.
Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, served as one of Trump’s personal lawyers for years and was identified as a co-conspirator in the plot to overturn his loss in the 2020 election. He faces a lawsuit brought by a woman who says he sexually assaulted and harassed her in 2019. The woman, Noelle Dunphy, said Giuliani hired her in January 2019 as a business development director and public relations consultant and then made clear that “satisfying his sexual demands — which came virtually anytime, anywhere — was an absolute requirement of her employment,” according to the lawsuit filed in May.
Giuliani denied the allegations in court papers, claiming he and Dunphy had a consensual relationship and that he never pressured her to perform sexual favors.
Cassidy Hutchinson, a former Trump administration aide, claimed that Giuliani groped her backstage during the Stop the Steal rally on January 6, 2021. According to her memoir, published in September, Hutchinson said Giuliani’s hand slipped “under my blazer, then my skirt.” Giuliani has denied the allegations, calling them “completely, absolutely false.”
A lawyer for Giuliani responded to The 19th’s request for comment but did not address any of the accusations.
Lewandowski served as Trump’s first campaign manager during the 2016 election but was fired before the 2016 Republican convention due to concerns over his inability to handle an effective national campaign. In March 2016, during his time leading the campaign, he was charged with battery after forcefully grabbing and yanking the arm of Michelle Fields, a former Breitbart News reporter. Lewandowski denied the allegations on Twitter, calling Fields “totally delusional.” Prosecutors dropped the case in April, saying there was not enough evidence to support a criminal conviction.
Then, singer and Trump supporter Joy Villa told Politico that Lewandowski slapped her on the butt twice at a holiday party at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., in late November 2017. Villa filed a sexual assault allegation with the police the following month. D.C. police told The 19th that the investigation has been closed.
Lewandowski was welcomed back into the fold as an outside adviser during Trump’s presidency. When Trump lost reelection, he appointed Lewandowski to oversee the Make America Great Again Action super PAC.
In 2021, Trashelle Odom, a Trump donor, accused Lewandowski of harassing her at a Las Vegas charity event. Odom told Politico that Lewandowski “stalked” her throughout the evening, said “disgusting things” to her and repeatedly touched her leg and butt. Shortly after Odom filed a police report, a Trump spokesperson announced the former president was cutting ties with Lewandowski and removing him from his position as head of the primary pro-Trump super PAC.
Lewandowski made a deal with prosecutors in which he did not have to admit guilt and all charges would be dropped if he underwent eight hours of impulse control counseling, served 50 hours of community service and paid a $1,000 fine.
Lewandowski was reportedly blacklisted from Trump properties and clubs, MAGA events and private gatherings, The Daily Beast reported in 2021. However, last month, Lewandowski told Politico that Trump requested he travel with him to a GOP fundraiser.
Lewandowski could not be reached for comment.
Porter served as White House staff secretary for Trump from January 2017 to February 2018, when he resigned after his two former wives, Colbie Holderness and Jennifer Willoughby, accused him of physical abuse during their marriages. Both said they told the FBI about the alleged abuse during a background check before he joined the White House. Holderness, who was married to Porter from 2003 to 2008, told DailyMail.com that her marriage to Porter was “verbally, emotionally and physically abusive” and shared photographs of her with a blackened right eye and a swollen cheekbone. Willoughby, married to Porter from 2009 to 2013, said in interviews that Porter once pulled her out of the shower following a fight “to continue the rage.” In a statement at the time of his resignation, Porter said that “these allegations are simply false,” according to the New York Times.
In 2019, Porter wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal titled “Trump’s Big Trade Opening,” detailing the former president’s approach to international trade with China. In a response published in The Washington Post, Willoughby called Porter’s return to the public eye “deeply troubling” because “giving him a voice” before he has publicly apologized for his actions “elevates his opinions above my and Colbie’s dignity.”
Porter could not be reached for comment.
Sorensen, a speechwriter in the Trump White House, resigned in February 2018 — within days of Porter — after his former wife, Jessica Corbett, alleged abuse in an interview with The Washington Post. Sorensen and Corbett had been married for two-and-a-half years before finalizing their divorce in the fall of 2017.
According to Corbett, Sorensen ran a car over her foot, put a cigarette out in her hand and threw her against a wall. Sorensen denied the allegations, claiming he was the victim of repeated physical violence. He told media outlets that he resigned “to help the White House avoid an unnecessary distraction.”
The 19th reached a lawyer for Sorensen but had not received comment by publication time.
Puzder, the former chief executive of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, was nominated by Trump to be the secretary of labor in 2017. Shortly after his nomination, a 2004 lawsuit surfaced that accused Puzder of sexually discriminating against, harassing and wrongfully terminating Caroline Leakan, a former CKE vice president of investor relations.
Separately, in the late 1980s, Puzder’s ex-wife Lisa Henning filed documents alleging physical abuse, including beatings around the neck and body. She later dropped the charges as part of a child custody agreement in 1990 and signed a legal document saying: “All allegations of abuse of any kind were made in the context of divorce proceedings. I fully withdraw these allegations.”
Puzder withdrew his nomination for the role of labor secretary one day before he was set to appear at a congressional confirmation hearing. In an interview on Fox Business, Puzder said: “There was never any substance to the abuse. I always denied it. She admitted very shortly after the divorce that they weren’t true.”
Puzder could not be reached for comment.