People magazine published a photo Tuesday showing President Donald Trump posing at his Mar-a-Lago resort with a journalist who has accused him of sexual misconduct — a woman he claims he does not know and never met.
The picture shows Trump standing alongside Natasha Stoynoff, a former correspondent for the magazine, on the same day in December 2005 that she says the businessman-turned-reality-TV star pushed her against a wall and “forc[ed] his tongue down my throat.” Trump’s wife, Melania, was pregnant at the time with their son Barron.
— People (@people) December 12, 2017
Trump has vehemently denied allegations of sexual misconduct from several women, and last year he called Stoynoff “a liar.”
In a tweet early Tuesday, he accused Democrats of “moving on to the false accusations and fabricated stories of women who I don’t know and/or have never met. FAKE NEWS!”
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended that tweet on Tuesday afternoon, claiming the president was referring to a group of accusers who spoke at a press conference and appeared on NBC’s “Megyn Kelly Today” a day earlier. “Simply stating that you don’t know someone means that you don’t have a relationship with them,” Sanders told reporters.
Trump’s knee-jerk reaction to his accusers comes amid the ongoing #MeToo moment, which has toppled powerful men in the media, business and politics. At the press conference Monday, four accusers called on Congress to investigate the accusations and expressed concern that other men were being held accountable for their alleged behavior while the president remained exempt.
“It became apparent that in some areas the accusations of sexual aggression were being taken seriously and people were being held accountable, except for our president, and he was not being held accountable,” said Jessica Leeds, one of the accusers.