America sadly needs a new word for when you are accused of sexual misconduct in the 80s, but you have a character witness who was also accused of sexual misconduct in the 80s.
On Wednesday, two woman spoke to the New York Times about their experiences allegedly receiving unwanted physical advances from GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. One of them, Jessica Leeds, alleged that Trump groped her, octopus-like, on a flight to New York in 1980 or ’81, and that the assault only ended when she changed seats.
Not to be outdone by the Times, the Trump campaign found the most embarrassing way possible to dispute Leeds’ claims, short of telling the media to call Sean Hannity.
According to the campaign, a British man named Anthony Gilberthorpe says he was sitting across from the first class aisle where Trump allegedly groped Leeds, but saw no lewd behavior on Trump’s part. In fact, Gilberthorpe told the New York Post on Friday that, “[Leeds] was the one being flirtatious,” and he would know because he was “present at all times.”
Gilberthorpe has no evidence to back his claim but he does have a self-described “excellent memory” (also not proven), and speaks with the moral authority of a pickup artist. Gilberthorpe, 54, described Leeds to the Post as “shrill” and “trying too hard.” While Trump was in the bathroom, Leads even allegedly told Gilberhthorpe that she “wanted to marry” the mouldering orange flotation device next to whom she had been seated.
Gilberthorpe, of course, never used the bathroom, because he was there the whole time, watching. More than thirty-five years later, he still remembers Leeds’ white pant suit, and that Trump was also clothing.
If the Mirror is to be believed, Gilberthorpe has been a rather good informant for conservative leadership for decades. He told the Mirror in 2014 that, 25 years prior, he had given Margaret Thatcher the names of people involved in supplying boys (some who “could have been” underage) for sex parties attended by high-ranking government officials. According to the Post, Gilberthorpe made such a good witness because he himself sometimes did the procuring (he was 17 at the time).
No doubt this will only embolden the assault apologists and the armrest truthers.