‘They’re Lies’ | Melania Trump Rejects Women’s Claims of Assault

MAGGIE HABERMAN – ASHLEY PARKER Tuesday, October 18, 2016

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Good Tuesday morning.
Melania Trump, who has been all but invisible as her husband confronts a campaign crisis over allegations that he sexually assaulted women, emerged on Monday to forcefully defend him and question the honesty of the women making the accusations.
Ms. Trump, in an extensive interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, said the women who had accused Donald J. Trump of groping and kissing them were lying, and she likened her husband to a teenage boy who engages in macho boasting.
She echoed her husband’s complaint that he was the victim of a broad conspiracy between the news media and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
“I believe my husband, I believe my husband — it was all organized from the opposition,” Ms. Trump said. “They can never check the background of these women. They don’t have any facts.”
Her appearance comes as Mr. Trump and his aides grapple with the worst stretch of the campaign so far, after the airing 10 days ago of an “Access Hollywood” recording from 2005 that captured Mr. Trump bragging to the host Billy Bush that he kissed women without invitation and that he can grab women’s genitals because he is a “star.”
Ms. Trump, 46, called the exchange between Mr. Trump and Mr. Bush “boy talk,” and she said that Mr. Trump had been “egged on” by the host “to say dirty and bad stuff.”
But she emphasized that she believed Mr. Trump was simply being boastful and did not engage in the behavior he described.
“Sometimes I say I have two boys at home: I have my young son, and I have my husband,” she said with a slight laugh. “But I know how some men talk, and that’s how I saw it, yes.”
Mr. Trump’s aides have been eager for his third wife to make a public show of support for him, especially after the “Access Hollywood” recording dominated several media cycles and drove some Republican elected officials to abandon his candidacy.
Ms. Trump has never enjoyed the political stage, and was stung by news media coverage in July, when it was revealed that her anticipated Republican National Convention speech borrowed lines from Michelle Obama’s 2008 address to the Democratic National Convention. She has been absent from the campaign trail since, save for brief appearances at the first two general election debates, and has been spending time with the couple’s young son, Barron.
She put out a written statement of support for her husband after the tape surfaced. But with Mr. Trump’s favorability among women perilously low, his advisers wanted Ms. Trump to do more.
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Doug Mills/The New York Times

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Patrick F. Kennedy, a senior State Department official, during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing last month. Mr. Kennedy was part of a long-running battle between the State Department and the intelligence agencies over Hillary Clinton’s emails.

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Joshua Bright for The New York Times

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<span data-macro=”discretionary_hyphen” data-mce-contenteditable=”false”></span>Former Vice President Al Gore with Hillary Clinton last Tuesday at a rally in Miami, where climate change was a major topic.

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On the Trail

Mrs. Clinton remains off the trail before Wednesday’s debate, but Tim Kainewill give an economic speech in Detroit.
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Donald J. Trump on Saturday in Portsmouth, N.H. In a radio interview on Monday, he said that the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton are too aggressive against President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

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Donald J. Trump at a rally in Bangor, Me., on Saturday.

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Damaged campaign signs on Sunday at the Orange County Republican Party headquarters in Hillsborough, N.C.

Jonathan Drew/Associated Press

In Hillsborough, where liberal and conservative factions have peacefully managed the tensions between them, residents said the attack did not reflect the community’s spirit.

Judyth Vary Baker cutting a birthday cake on Saturday during the Lee Harvey Oswald Conference outside New Orleans. The annual conference is held around Oswald’s birthday, Oct. 18. Ms. Baker claims to have been his girlfriend.

William Widmer for The New York Times

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There’s nothing strange about polls showing Hillary Clinton up four or 11 points if it’s really a seven- or eight-point race.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Obama at the White House in March.

Zach Gibson/The New York Times

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What We’re Reading Elsewhere

USA Today reports that several of the companies that donated money to the Clinton Foundation sought business at the State Department while Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state, efforts often facilitated by lobbyists who arranged the donations.
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