Nine women have come forward and accused Donald Trump of sexual assault. Their allegations span decades.
Their allegations are bolstered by a videotape from 2005 where Trump himself brags about getting away with sexual assault.
Trump and his campaign have responded by promising proof that the women are lying.
“We already have substantial evidence to dispute these lies, and it will be made public in an appropriate way and at an appropriate time — very soon,” Trump said Thursday at a rally in Florida.
“Stay tuned. I know there’s more information that’s going to be coming out that will back his claim that this is all categorically false,” Trump’s running mate Mike Pence said Friday morning on CBS.
The “proof” came in the form of an article in the New York Post.
The New York Post presents the account of a British man named Anthony Gilberthorpe. He tells the Post that he was in the first class cabin of an airplane with Trump and Jessica Leeds in 1980.
Leeds says that Trump groped her on this flight.
Gilberthorpe says he was “present at all times” and that Trump did not grope Leeds. He says it was Leeds who was flirting with Trump. When Trump went to the bathroom, Gilberthorpe claims, Leeds confessed to him that she wanted to marry Trump.
There are a number of major problems with this story.
First, Gilberthorpe is 54 years old. That means in 1980, he was approximately 18.
Why was an 18-year-old from England on a first class domestic flight? How could he possibly observed Trump and Leeds at all times? Why would the flight have been memorable absent any incident? Why would a woman in her thirties confess to an 18-year-old boy she doesn’t know that she wants to marry a man she just sat next to on a plane? He doesn’t have any explanation.
Nor does Gilberthorpe, who the Trump campaign referred to the Post for an interview, have anything to substantiate his story. “Gilberthorpe has no evidence to back up his claim — just his self-described excellent memory,” the Post reports.
Even if Gilberthorpe’s tale was true, it would only counter the claims of one of the women who have stepped forward. But if you know just a little bit about Gilberthorpe, the odds of his story being true quickly go from slim to none.
Gilberthorpe is, by all accounts, a serial fableist.
In 1987, for example, he told newspapers in England that he was engaged to fashion designer in California named Miss Leah Bergdorf-Hunt. “Both our families are delighted,” he told The Gloucester Express. It was later revealed that he was not engaged. Also there was no Miss Bergdorf-Hunt. He invented the whole thing.
He later won a substantial libel judgment from British newspapers that reported he had AIDS. But it eventually came out that Gilberthorpe himself was the source for the story. The newspapers appealed and Gilberthorpe ended up settling after the newspapers agreed to offset a small portion of his legal fees. The incident left him “very much out of pocket and with egg all over his face.”
Gilberthorpe also contends that, as a young man, he was “paid to recruit underage rent boys for orgies attended by ministers from Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet.” There is no evidence to support his salacious claims.
This all raises the question: If Trump is innocent of all these allegations, why rest his claims of innocence with a man that has as little credibility as Gilberthorpe?
Trump promised “substantial evidence.” He delivered a tall tale.