Melania Trump said Monday she believes her husband’s denials that he committed the kinds of sexual assault he bragged about in a recorded 2005 exchange — and of which several women have accused him — though she said the Republican presidential candidate’s ribald “boy talk” was inappropriate.
“I believe my husband,” she told CNN anchor Anderson Cooper in an interview broadcast Monday night, adding the timing of the release of damaging information about Donald J. Trump as a groper and the accusers coming forward are intended to derail his campaign for the presidency.
“This was all organized from the opposition,” she said during the 30-minute segment. “Did they ever check the background of these women? They don’t have any facts.”
During his second debate with Hillary Clinton on Oct. 9, Trump denied he had done any of the groping and kissing he said his celebrity status afforded him during the 2005 exchange with then-“Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush.
Melania Trump said the off-color comments were made by Trump only after he was egged on by Bush.
Since the denials at the debate, a number of women have come forward to say they were treated by Trump in the same aggressive manner he described. Melania Trump said she didn’t believe those accusers and they should have taken their gripes to law enforcement.
“Every assault should be taken care of in a court of law,” she said. “To accuse someone, no matter who it is — a man or a woman — without evidence, it’s damaging and it’s unfair.”
The interview comes as Donald Trump and Clinton are poised to square off in a final debate Wednesday, even as Trump fends off the effects of a number of stories in prominent media outlets that have cast him negatively as a tax avoider as well as someone who demeans women.
Melania Trump said the conspiracy against her husband distracts attention from Clinton’s skeletons.
“The opposition doesn’t want to talk about WikiLeaks, and the emails and Benghazi,” she said, referring scandals and accusations that have dogged Clinton’s campaign.
The interview took place at Trump Tower in Manhattan on Monday before the 8 p.m. broadcast.
She not only defended her husband while calling the terms he used “not acceptable,” but she also said people should not feel sorry for her as she navigates life under a “left-wing media” spotlight that she said is working in tandem with Clinton’s campaign to defeat Donald Trump.
“I didn’t expect media would be so dishonest and so mean,” she said just before commenting on the publication of nearly nude pictures the immigrant from Slovenia took as a fashion model, a spread that sparked speculation that she might have worked in the country illegally before her marriage to Trump. “I never had one correct story, one honest story.”
She said the stories attributed a wrong date to the pictures, which she said she did “many, many years ago” as a model for a French magazine.
“Suddenly, it becomes I’m here illegally, I was married before,” she said. “I said like — yeah, find me the husband that I was married before my husband. There were a lot of dishonest stuff.”
In response to a question by Cooper asking her to respond to Trump’s characterizations of his accusers’ looks, Melania Trump said her husband speaks his mind.
“That’s him,” she said. “He’s raw. He says it as he feels it. I know he respects women. But he’s defending himself because they are lies.”
She added that she wants the American public to see the real Donald Trump as a “gentleman.”
“My husband is kind and he’s a gentleman and he would never do that,” she said when asked what she could tell the public three weeks before votes are to be cast on Nov. 8 for the presidency. “Everything was organized and put together to hurt him, to hurt his candidacy.”
When Cooper asked whether Melania Trump believed the news media are working in concert with Clinton’s operatives, she said, “Yes, of course.”