THE White House has slammed female staffer Alva Johnson’s claim Donald Trump kissed her without consent, calling it “absurd”.
Press secretary Sarah Sanders immediately dismissed the kiss allegations as “absurd on its face”, and added: “This never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible eye witness accounts.”
Erica Aitken Photography Alva Johnson, 43, said the then presidential candidate grabbed her hand and leaned in for a kiss on the lips as he exited from a car outside a rally in August 2016.
Johnson however told friends and family about the incident at the time, all of whom corroborate her story.
A lawsuit lodged in Florida, which seeks unspecified damages for emotional pain and suffering, also alleges Johnson was paid less than her white male counterparts.
A campaign spokesman rejected that claim as “off-base and unfounded”.
Johnson, 43, said the incident happened at a rally in August 2016, when the then-presidential candidate grabbed her hand and leaned in for a kiss on the lips as he exited from a car.
Reuters Donald Trump denied the allegations via White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, who dismissed Johnson’s kiss allegation against her boss as ‘absurd on its face’
She says she turned her head and the unwanted smacker landed on the side of her mouth – branding it “super-creepy and inappropriate”.
Johnson said: “I immediately felt violated because I wasn’t expecting it or wanting it. I can still see his lips coming straight for my face.
“I’ve tried to let it go. You want to move on with your life. I don’t sleep. I wake up at 4 in the morning looking at the news. I feel guilty.
The only thing I did was show up for work one day.”
‘BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL, FANTASTIC’
The former Trump campaign worker broke her silence, two-and-a-half-years after the alleged kiss, during an interview with The Washington Post.
Events planner Johnson said she told her boyfriend, mother and stepfather about the incident later the same day, an account all three confirmed to the newspaper.
More than a dozen women have publicly accused Trump of inappropriate behaviour, but Johnson is the only woman to come forward since he became president.
She had consider coming forward in October 2016, after video surfaced of Trump bragging about kissing and groping “by the p****”.
The African-American mum-of-four, from Alabama, got involved in the tycoon’s campaign because she thought he could use his business experience to help black communities.
She claimed she first met Trump at a November 2015 rally, where he looked her up and down and said: “Oh, beautiful, beautiful, fantastic.”
Two months later, she joined his campaign as a director of outreach and coalitions in Alabama.
Three months before the November 2016 general election, Johnson was assigned to Florida to manage vehicles crossing the state as mobile campaign offices.
It was inside one of those 4×4’s, on a rainy afternoon in Tampa, Florida, where Johnson said the candidate pressed his lips against hers.
GRASPED HER HAND AND LEANED IN
She described telling Trump, who was wearing a dark suit and red tie, before his rally: “I’ve been on the road for you since March, away from my family.
“You’re doing an awesome job. Go in there and kick ass.”
Trump, she says, then grasped her hand, thanked her for her work and leaned in.
Recalling the moment, Johnson said: “Oh, my God, I think he’s going to kiss me. He’s coming straight for my lips.
“So I turn my head, and he kisses me right on corner of my mouth, still holding my hand the entire time. Then he walks on out.”
Two other Trump supporters – including a campaign aide – who were present when the alleged kiss happened have denied seeing it.
Johnson continued working for Trump after the alleged incident, but six weeks later the Access Hollywood video of his crude comments brought an avalanche of sexual harassment claims.
She added of the video: “I felt sick to my stomach. That was what he did to me.”
Her therapist, writing in notes obtained by the Washington Post, said in October 2016: “She is having nightmares because of what happened.”
‘THIS NEVER HAPPENED’
Johnson also talked to a lawyer who represented sexual abuse victims, but he declined to take on her case because of work commitments.
She admits still attending one of the inaugural balls, after Trump won his surprise presidential victory, and even twice applying for jobs in his administration.
But she grew agitated as the #MeToo movement emboldened women to speak up about sexual misconduct against powerful men.
She said she was also motivated to act as she saw the impact of the president’s policies, specifically the detention of immigrant children at the US border.
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