White House Presents Weak Witnesses To Defend Trump From Sexual Harassment, Assault Claims

The White House reportedly issued Monday night a list of “eyewitnesses” who could discredit accusations of sexual harassment or assault by President Donald Trump before he took office, but the witnesses’ accounts seemingly fail to hold up.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters she would provide accounts that counteract claims made by women against Trump Monday during a White House press briefing, and handed over three names, according to ThinkProgress —former beauty pageant contestants Katie Blair and Melissa Young as well as Anthony Gilberthorpe, who claims to have a photographic memory. 

Each of those accounts was referenced a day after three of Trump’s accusers appeared on NBC’s Today show and described their encounters with Trump, going as far back as nearly four decades ago. Jessica Leeds, Samantha Holvey and Rachel Crooks each told NBC’s Megyn Kelly their stories, all of which appear to follow a similar pattern.

Blair was listed by the White House as a witness who could discredit Holvey, a former Miss North Carolina. She competed in the 2006 Miss USA pageant and claimed Trump had “personally inspected each of the contestants” and described it as the “dirtiest I felt in my entire life.”

RTX3PGS7 Rachel Crooks, a former receptionist in Trump Tower in 2005, from left, Jessica Leeds and Samantha Holvey, a former Miss North Carolina, speak at a December 11 news conference for the film "16 Women and Donald Trump" which focuses on women who have publicly accused President Trump of sexual misconduct. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

However, Blair won the 2006 Miss Teen USA pageant, a different contest, and, according to ThinkProgess, she has never publicly said anything about Holvey’s accusations.

Similarly, Young was named as a witness even though she too did not participate in the same beauty contest as Holvey. She was Miss Wisconsin in the 2005 Miss USA Pageant.

Gilberthorpe was reportedly not mentioned by name on the list the White House provided, however, but he has previously talked about the veracity of Leeds’ claim. She said Trump groped her on a flight in 1980, and Gilberthorpe claimed she told the then-18-year-old that she “wanted to marry Trump.”

However, Gilberthorpe does have a history of making up claims to the media, according to The Guardian.

Crooks, then 22, previously accused Trump of forcibly kissing her when they met outside of Trump Tower in New York in 2005. She was a receptionist at a real estate firm and said she did not previously come forward out of fear of losing her job.

“I was uncomfortable because he was someone I saw regularly, and I knew he was a partner of the organization I worked for,” Crooks said, according to USA Today.

Trump has repeatedly denied the accusations made against him by at least 14 women, calling them “fake news” and attempts by Democrats and liberals to smear his campaign and presidency.

But the allegations Trump has faced can be linked to this year’s “MeToo” movement, which led to women across the country telling their stories about other powerful men such as Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and former CBS anchor Charlie Rose who have been accused of abusing their positions to harass or outright assault women.