Former Trump campaign staffer Alva Johnson alleges in a lawsuit that Donald Trump her forcibly kissed her without her consent before a Florida presidential campaign rally in 2016, the Washington Post reports.
The White House denies the charges.
Johnson us an event planner who lives in Madison County, Alabama. The federal lawsuit filed Monday in Florida (where the alleged sexual assault happened) asks for unspecified damages for emotional pain and suffering.
In addition to the forced kiss, she also alleges Trump's campaign discriminated against her in pay. She is black, and earned less than her white male counterparts. Kayleigh McEnany, campaign spokesjerk and frequent cable news pundit, rejected that claim as “off-base and unfounded.”
From Beth Reinhard and Alice Crites at the Washington Post:
In interviews with The Washington Post, and in the lawsuit, Alva Johnson said Trump grabbed her hand and leaned in to kiss her on the lips as he exited an RV outside the rally in Tampa on Aug. 24, 2016. Johnson said she turned her head and the unwanted kiss landed on the side of her mouth, which she called “super-creepy and inappropriate.”
“I immediately felt violated because I wasn’t expecting it or wanting it,” she said. “I can still see his lips coming straight for my face.”
Johnson said she told her boyfriend, mother and stepfather about the incident later that day, an account all three confirmed to The Post. Two months later, Johnson consulted a Florida attorney about the unwanted kiss; he gave The Post text messages showing that he considered her “credible” but did not take her case for business reasons. The attorney gave Johnson the name of a therapist, whose notes, which The Post reviewed, reference an unspecified event during the campaign that had left her distraught.
In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders dismissed Johnson’s allegation as “absurd on its face.”
“This never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible eye witness accounts,” she wrote.
Two Trump supporters identified as witnesses by Ms. Johnson, one of whom was a campaign official, the other Pam Bondi, at the time Florida's attorney general — deny witnessing the alleged Trump sexual assault, in interviews with The Post.