A New York woman has told the The Guardian that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump grabbed her and kissed her without her consent when she was with her family at a Mother’s Day brunch at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach about 20 years ago.
Trump’s campaign spokesman called the account of Cathy Heller a “bogus claim” in a statement this afternoon.
Donald Trump at the South Florida Fairgrounds on Thursday called claims of inappropriate behavior toward women “totally and absolutely false…They’re pure fiction and they’re outright lies.” (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)
Heller, now 63, told The Guardian she was with her husband, three children and in-laws at Mar-a-Lago on Mother’s Day in about 1997 when Trump made the rounds and stopped by her table.
“He took my hand, and grabbed me, and went for the lips,” Heller told The Guardian. She said that when she tried to avoid him, “he said, ‘Oh, come on.’ He was strong. And he grabbed me and went for my mouth and went for my lips.” She said she turned her head and Trump kissed the side of her mouth.
“He kept me there for a little too long,” Heller said in The Guardian story. “And then he just walked away.”
In response to Heller’s account, Trump’s campaign released this statement by senior communications adviser Jason Miller: “The media has gone too far in making this false accusation. There is no way that something like this would have happened in a public place on Mother’s Day at Mr. Trump’s resort. It would have been the talk of Palm Beach for the past two decades. The reality is this: for the media to wheel out a politically motivated Democratic activist with a legal dispute against this same resort owned by Mr. Trump does a disservice to the public, and anyone covering this story should be embarrassed for elevating this bogus claim.”
Heller’s husband’s family has tried for years to recover initiation fees paid to join Mar-A-Lago, The Guardian said, adding that club rules allow for fees to be refunded in certain cases when a person is no longer a member. The newspaper said Heller has made at least one call to a club manager to recover the fees, which total several thousand dollars. Heller told The Guardian that her Mother’s Day encounter with Trump came before that effort.
Heller joins several other women who have gone public in the last week with claims that Trump groped or kissed them without their consent. The stories have come after the Oct. 7 release of a 2005 video in which Trump bragged in lewd terms about being able to kiss and grope women because of his celebrity status. In an Oct. 9 debate with Hillary Clinton, Trump said his crude boasting was “locker room talk” that he had not acted upon.
After Trump’s debate assertion, the New York Times on Wednesday published accounts of a woman who said she was groped by Trump on a plane more than 30 years ago and another woman who said Trump would not let go of her hand and kissed her on the mouth in 2005. A People magazine writer published a claim that Trump pushed her against a wall and kissed her on the mouth at Mar-a-Lago in 2005. And The Palm Beach Post reported about Mindy McGillivray, a Palm Springs woman who said she was groped by Trump at Mar-a-Lago 13 years ago.
In a rally at the South Florida Fairgrounds on Thursday, Trump vehemently denied claims he acted inappropriately toward women.
“These vicious claims about me of inappropriate conduct with women are totally and absolutely false and the Clintons know it and they know it very well. These claims are all fabricated. They’re pure fiction and they’re outright lies. These events never, ever happened,” Trump told a crowd of several thousand supporters.
After that speech, The Washington Post reported Friday that a woman said Trump reached under her skirt and groped her in a New York nightclub in the early 1990s. And Summer Zervos, a former contestant on Trump’s “The Apprentice,” said Trump made aggressive, unwanted sexual advances in a Beverly Hills, California, hotel room in 2007.