- At least 26 women have accused President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct since the 1970s.
- Renewed attention was brought to the allegations amid the #MeToo movement and a national conversation concerning sexual misconduct.
- On Tuesday, a Manhattan jury found Trump liable for the sexual abuse of columnist E. Jean Carroll.
At least 26 women accused President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct, including assault, since the 1970s.
A deluge of women made their accusations public following the October 2016 publication of the “Access Hollywood” tape, in which Trump was heard boasting about grabbing women’s genitals in 2005. Some of Trump’s accusers made their stories public months before the tape’s release, and still others came forward in the months following.
Trump has broadly dismissed the allegations, which include harassment, groping, and rape, as “fabricated” and politically motivated accounts pushed by the media and his political opponents. In 2016, he promised to sue all of his accusers. In some cases, Trump and his lawyers have suggested he couldn’t have engaged in the alleged behavior with certain women because he wasn’t physically attracted to them.
“Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign,” the Republican presidential nominee said during a 2016 rally. “Total fabrication. The events never happened. Never. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over.”
The president said these “false allegations” against him were made by “women who got paid a lot of money to make up stories about me.” And then alleged that the “mainstream media” refused to report evidence that the accusations were made up.
Trump has not yet made good on his promise to sue any of the women — although two women have sued him – and the White House says that Trump’s election proves the American people don’t consider the allegations disqualifying.
“The people of this country, at a decisive election, supported President Trump, and we feel like these allegations have been answered through that process,” then-White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters in December 2017, after several of the president’s accusers appeared on national television to rehash their allegations.
But despite Trump’s denials, 50% of voters — 59% of women and 41% of men — surveyed in a December 2017 Quinnipiac poll think the president should resign as a result of the sexual misconduct allegations against him. Several Democratic lawmakers have previously called on Trump to resign over the accusations.
One accuser, Samantha Holvey, who spoke out in 2016 about her experience with Trump as a Miss USA pageant contestant, said in 2017 that while Trump’s election was painful, she and others see the #MeToo movement as an opportunity to “try round two.”
“We’re private citizens, and for us to put ourselves out there to try and show America who this man is and especially how he views women, and for them to say ‘meh, we don’t care’ — it hurts,” Holvey said on NBC News’ “Megyn Kelly Today” in December 2017. “And so now it’s just like, all right, let’s try round two. The environment’s different. Let’s try again.”
In May 2023, a Manhattan jury found Trump liable for the sexual abuse of E. Jean Caroll in 1996, in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room, and found that he defamed her when he denied it. The jury did not find that Trump had raped Carroll, as detailed in her testimony.