A woman who accused President Trump of groping and forcibly kissing her on an airplane during the 1970s said she decided to share her story to show the public “what kind of pervert” Trump is.
Jessica Leeds appeared on “Megyn Kelly Today” on Monday morning, along with two other women, Samantha Holvey and Rachel Crooks. All three accused the president of sexual misconduct before he was elected.
“I wanted people to know what kind of person that Trump really is, what a pervert he is,” Leeds said of why she decided to share her experience with the president.
The women came forward during the 2016 campaign, but decided to speak out again amid the rise of the #MeToo movement, which has seen thousands of women share their experiences with sexual harassment.
"Let's try round two," Holvey said.
The #MeToo movement has led to the resignation of three members of Congress: Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz.
But while it has led to a national conversation about sexual harassment, it has also put the spotlight on the White House, as more than a dozen women have accused the president of sexual misconduct.
Leeds said her incident with the president occurred when she was seated next to him in first class on a plane in the 1970s.
She told Kelly she was working as a traveling salesperson at the time and said Trump was “all over me, kissing and groping me, and groping and kissing.”
Leeds recalled Trump not saying anything to her, but rather said it was “this silent groping going on.”
When Trump allegedly tried to put his hand up her skirt, Leeds said she jumped out of her seat and went to the back of the plane. She said she waited there until all passengers deplaned, and then left.
Leeds said she ran into Trump at a fundraiser for the Humane Society of New York, where she worked, years later and said he told her, “You were that … woman from the airplane.”
“He called me the worst name ever,” she said, confirming it started with a "C" and ended with a "T." “The worst one.”
Leeds said she decided to come forward with her story after watching one of the presidential debates, during which Kelly pressed Trump about his history of misogynistic comments. After, she decided to write a letter to the New York Times.
“My story is so old,” she said. “But I have talked to a lot of people, not the women from Trump because as we said, this is the first time we’ve had any contact with each other, but I've talked to businesswomen, I’ve talked to friends, I’ve talked to ladies at the Y, and I discovered everybody has a story.”
Trump addressed Leeds' accusations during a campaign event in Greensboro, N.C., in October 2016 and suggested he would not have sexually harassed her because she was not attractive enough.
"Believe me, she would not be my first choice, that I can tell you," Trump said. "You don't know. That would not be my first choice."
"When you looked at that horrible woman last night, you said, 'I don't think so,' " he added.
Holvey, a former Miss North Carolina who competed in the Miss USA pageant, which Trump owned, said Trump ogled pageant contestants and would walk backstage where the women were changing.
“Miss USA wasn’t my first pageant,” Holvey said. “There were no men backstage. The directors never came backstage, male or female.”
Holvey was one of several women who spoke about Trump’s misconduct during the 2016 campaign, and said it was disheartening to watch the country dismiss their experiences and elect him to the presidency.
“For them not to say, ‘You know what, that’s wrong. I don’t support that. I’m not voting for that. I don’t want that person leading my country,’” Holvey said of Trump’s supporters, “that’s so painful.”
“For us to put ourselves out there to try to show America who this man is and especially how he views women and for them to say ‘Eh, we don’t care,’ it hurt. Trump accuser Samantha Holvey on @MegynTODAY pic.twitter.com/BIWZCYlQzA— TODAY (@TODAYshow) December 11, 2017
Like Holvey and Leeds, Crooks said she, too, was the victim of sexual misconduct from Trump.
Crooks worked at Trump Tower when she was 22 years old and said on one occasion when she introduced herself to Trump, the businessman kissed her repeatedly against her will, including on the lips.
“I was shocked, devastated,” she said. “I wish I would’ve been courageous enough to be like, ‘What’s going on? You need to stop this.’ ”
Crooks said the incident happened early in the morning, before her colleagues were in the office, and said she immediately hid in her boss’s office to call her sister and tell her of what occurred.
Because Trump was a partner of the organization she worked for, though, Crooks said she didn’t feel she could say anything.
Crooks said Trump later asked for her phone number and told her he would pass it along to his modeling agency.
“I was so uncomfortable and a little threatened like I didn’t have a choice in agreeing to do that,” Crooks, a Democrat, said. “We were talking about it last night, too, and you feel like you have to say yes. You don’t want to be the nasty girl, the mean girl who doesn’t comply.”
The White House has denied the allegations from all three women and said they have “political motives.”
“These 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,” the White House said in a statement to the show that Kelly read on-air.
“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,” the White House continued.
Crooks called the White House’s response “laughable,” and said she would “love” for security footage from Trump Tower to be made public.
She also said there should be an ethics probe into the allegations against Trump, in the same way Franken and Conyers faced investigations from the House and Senate Ethics Committees for accusations made against them.
Though the women agreed the country seems more aware of the pervasiveness of sexual misconduct, Holvey said she was frustrated no one believed her when she shared her #MeToo moment about Trump on national television last year.
“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,” she said. “When does that happen?”