Trump accuser challenges president: ‘By all means, release the footage’

Rachel Crooks has accused Trump of forcibly kissing her in Trump Tower.

Rachel Crooks. CREDIT: Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Rachel Crooks. CREDIT: Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Political hopeful and candidate for the Ohio state legislature Rachel Crooks, who has accused President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct, called on Trump to release video footage from the day the alleged incident occurred outside an office at Trump Tower in New York City.

Crooks called Trump’s bluff Tuesday after the president claimed in a series of tweets that he doesn’t know Crooks and had never met her — referring to the existence of video footage as proof that Crooks is lying.

“Who would do this in a public space with live security… cameras running. Another False Accusation,” Trump wrote on Twitter in an apparent response to a Washington Post profile of Crooks detailing her efforts to speak out about a 2006 encounter where she alleges that Trump forcibly kissed her and grabbed her hand. 

Shortly after Trump’s tweet, Crooks fired back: “Please, by all means, share the footage from the hallway outside of the 24th floor residential elevator bank on the morning of January 11, 2006.”  At the time, Crooks worked as a secretary for an investment firm in Trump Tower and she recounted in the Washington Post story how Trump grabbed her hand, wouldn’t let go, and kissed her on the lips.

In an Access Hollywood video obtained by the Washington Post, Trump was caught on a hot microphone in 2005 bragging about “kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women.” 

“Let’s clear this up for everyone,” Crooks wrote in the tweet directed at Trump. “It’s liars like you in politics that have prompted me to run for office myself.”

Earlier this month, Crooks declared her candidacy for a seat in Ohio’s state legislature and told Cosmopolitan magazine that she was inspired to run “because the president has escaped the consequences of his alleged sexual abuse.”

Crooks, a Democrat and first-time candidate, went public with her accusation in the fall of 2016 during the presidential campaign.  

“I think my voice should have been heard then,” Crooks told Cosmopolitan. “And I’ll still fight for it to be heard now. Americans are really upset with politics as usual, and I want to be a voice for them.”

Crooks also told the Washington Post that she is running for office in part so she can speak out and share her story more widely with Ohio’s voters. 

Thanks to Trump’s Twitter attack, Crooks’ campaign got an unexpected boost on Tuesday as thousands flocked to her website to learn more about candidacy, according to BuzzFeed reporter Henry J. Gomez. 

Crooks is one of 19 women who have stepped forward to publicly accuse Trump of sexual assault or harassment. Trump has repeatedly dismissed these allegations as “fake news,” and last fall White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that the White House’s official position is that the women are liars.