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3 women who have accused President Trump of sexual misconduct speak out

Three women who accuse Donald Trump of sexual misconduct, Jessica Leeds, Rachel Crooks, and Samantha Holvey, speak to Megyn Kelly.
by Eun Kyung Kim / / Source: TODAY

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By the time President Donald Trump took office in January, more than a dozen women had accused him of groping them or other types of sexual misconduct, even assault, dating back to the 1970s.

Three of the women accusing him of sexual misconduct appeared Monday on Megyn Kelly TODAY to share their experiences with Trump.

"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, who claims Trump would walk into dressing rooms during the Miss America pageant in 2006, the year she competed in the contest.

Holvey said the first time Trump came backstage, she thought he was there for a “meet and greet” with all the contestants.

“It was not. It was ‘hi,’ just looking me over like I was just a piece of meat. I was not a human being. I didn’t have a brain, I didn’t have a personality,” she said. “I was just simply there for his pleasure. It left me feeling very gross, very dirty.”

She said he came back again during the final round, when the women were getting their makeup done, most of them wearing nothing but robes.

“No one dreams of being ogled when you’re a little girl wanting to wear a crown,” she said.

Joining Holvey on Megyn Kelly TODAY was also Jessica Leeds, who says Trump groped her on a plane in the 1970s, and Rachel Crooks, a Trump Tower receptionist who said he kissed her on the mouth in 2005.

Crooks said she was shocked when it happened and remembered "hiding in our boss's office" before calling her sister and telling her, "I don't know what just happened but I felt terrible." She said Trump also asked for her phone number, prompting her to respond: "What do you need that for?"

Crooks said numerous people have questioned why security footage failed to catch the exchange, something she has wondered about herself.

"Yes, where is that? Let’s get that out because I would love for that to be made public," she told Kelly. "He owns the building, I doubt that’s going to happen, but I’d be more than happy to let that surface."

Trump denied all of the claims during the presidential campaign, dismissing some of his accusers as improbably targets because of their looks.

“When you looked at that horrible woman last night, you said 'I don't think so!'” he said during one campaign event.

The White House released a statement Monday again dismissing the allegations.

"The 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 judgment by delivering a decisive victory," according to the statement. "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.”

Leeds told Kelly about meeting Trump on an airplane after she was upgraded to a first-class seat next to him. She said the two had just finished a meal when Trump put his hand up her skirt.

“All of a sudden, he’s all over me. Kissing and groping, groping and kissing,” she said. “Nothing was said … It was just this silent groping going on.”

She remembers eyeing the man across the aisle from her, wondering why he nor the flight attendant, said anything. Leeds said she got up and went to the back of the plane for the rest of the flight.

“I didn’t tell anyone then. I just thought, that’s some creep on the airplane.”

She said about three years later she moved to New York City for a job, where she ran into Trump again at a work-related gala.

“He says, ‘I remember you. You were that woman from that airplane. He called me the worst name ever,” she said.

When Kelly asked if the word began with a “c” and ended with “t,” Leeds confirmed it did.

“It’s the worst name ever,” she said.

Holvey said speaking out about the allegations now, following a whirlwind of sexual misconduct revelations that have chased Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, other celebrities, members of the media and politicians, may find a more receptive audience.

But she said it gave her “goosebumps” to think about Trump campaigning for Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama who has been accused of multiple women of sexual assaulting teenagers as young as 14.

“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. We no longer accept this, it’s happened long enough. No. When does that happen?” she said.

Over the weekend, United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley broke from the administration to express support for Trump accusers.

“They should be heard and they should be dealt with,” she said Sunday on CBS’s “Face The Nation.” “And I think we heard from them prior to the election. And I think any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way, they have every right to speak up.”

In addition, two Democratic senators — Cory Booker of New Jersey and Oregon’s Jeff Merkley — have called for Trump to resign because of the multiple accusations of sexual harassment and assault. Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, an Independent who caucuses with Democrats, also has suggested Trump should step down.

They compared it to Sen. Al Franken, who resigned after sexual misconduct allegations many have said failed to come close to those Trump faces from his accusers.

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