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Trump Calls Assault Allegations 'Pure Fiction,' Pledges Evidence To Dispute

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump campaigned at the South Florida Fair Expo Center in West Palm Beach on Thursday.
Joe Raedle
Getty Images
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump campaigned at the South Florida Fair Expo Center in West Palm Beach on Thursday.

New allegations that he inappropriately touched and groped women are "vicious" as well as "totally, absolutely false," Donald Trump said Thursday at a campaign rally.

Trump made the comments at a planned rally in West Palm Beach, Fla., his first time speaking publicly since the New York Times and other publications reported assault allegations from various women.

He said the claims were thrown at him by "the Clinton machine," the New York Times and other news outlets.

Trump also criticized People writer Natasha Stoynoff's looks, arguing that he wouldn't have made a move on her. She wrote Wednesday Trump had pushed her against a wall and put "his tongue down my throat" in December 2005.

"You take a look at her, look at her, look at her words," he said, "You tell me what you think. I don't think so, I don't think so."

Trump pledged to provide "substantial evidence" to the public that would dispute the claims "very soon."

"The claims are preposterous, ludicrous and defy truth, common sense and logic. We already have substantial evidence to dispute these lies, and it will be made public in an appropriate way, and at an appropriate time, very soon," he said.

He also reiterated skepticism that Stoynoff is coming forward with her story now — "Why wasn't it part of the story [she wrote about Trump] that appeared 20 or 12 years ago?" Trump also said the room where the alleged assault took place "is a room that everybody can see in" with glass walls.

The New York Times reported late Wednesday the stories of two women who claim that Trump groped and kissed them — one more than 30 years ago, and the other in 2005. Trump and the campaign have said they are fabricated and threatened to sue the publication. Other media organizations, including People and BuzzFeed, also reported allegations of assault on Wednesday (more on the allegations, and response, here).

A lawyer for Trump wrote a letter to the Times demanding it retract the article and apologize.

The paper has refused to do so, and it sent a scathing letter back to the Trump campaign reading, in part, "nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr. Trump, through his own words and actions, has already created for himself":

In addition to the the allegations, Trump spoke about the economy, security and Hillary Clinton's emails.

You can watch the full speech above and read the full transcript here.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Amita Kelly is a Washington editor, where she works across beats and platforms to edit election, politics and policy news and features stories.