On Sunday, Megyn Kelly Today‘s official Twitter account revealed Jessica Leeds, Samantha Holvey, and Rachel Cooks — three of the at least 19 women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct — would appear live on Monday’s program. Appear they did, and while their conversations with Kelly largely revolved around their previous allegations, a few previously unheard bits of their accounts came to light throughout the hourlong conversation. Like Leeds’s story of meeting Trump and his first wife, Ivana, at a Humane Society fundraiser in New York.
Three years after her encounter with Trump in first class aboard a commercial flight in the ’80s, Leeds moved to New York when she got a job with the charitable organization. She subsequently worked at a fundraising gala hosted by Saks Fifth Avenue, doling out table assignments to the guests — including Trump and a “very pregnant” Ivana:
“He stands there as I’m handing him his table assignment and he says, ‘I remember you. You were that… woman from the airplane.’ He called me the worst name ever… It’s the worst one… The room cleared. It was like everybody disappeared… It was shocking.”
Leeds refused to say the word, let alone the phrase “the c-word,” but Kelly repeatedly asked her to confirm what Trump had called her. “You don’t want to say it out loud, but does it begin with a ‘c’?” the host asked. When Leeds said it did and continued on, Kelly followed up. “Does it end with ‘t’?” All the while, the Megyn Kelly Today studio reacted to Leeds and Kelly’s exchange with a mixture of nervous laughter and shocked gasps. And considering the president’s documented history with the word, Leeds’s update to her story seems all the more credible.
Along with fellow accusers Rachel Crooks and Samantha Holvey, the three women also reacted live to a new White House statement denying their allegations. Telling viewers “this was just breaking,” Kelly revealed mid-interview that the Trump administration had responded to the show’s request for comment. She then revealed the statement live on air for the first time, and asked her guests for their reactions:
“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 timing and absurdity of these false claims speaks volumes and the publicity tour that has begun only further confirms the political motives behind them.”
A month before the general election, the New York Times detailed decades of sexual assault allegations against Trump. Leeds, recalling her airplane encounter with the real estate mogul, called Trump an “octopus” who repeatedly grabbed her breasts and put his hand up her skirt. “His hands were everywhere,” she said. Crooks accused Trump in the same article of assaulting her in an elevator in 2005. “It was so inappropriate,” she recalled of Trump’s “kissed [her] directly on the mouth.” Meanwhile, accounts of Trump entering Miss Teen USA dressing rooms and ogling young women began to surface. Not only did he brag about this, but Holvey confirmed it. “We were just sexual objects,” she told CNN.