Long before he was president, Donald Trump was revered for decades by Democrats and the left as the most famous billionaire in the world.
Nonetheless, as soon as he entered the presidential race as a Republican, the real estate tycoon was not only demonized as a xenophobic, racist, but nearly two dozen women came out of the woodwork in 2016 charging the then-Republican front-runner with unsubstantiated allegations of sexual misconduct.
Ahead of the 2020 presidential race, yet another woman is suing the president for allegedly attempting to kiss her.
In her lawsuit, former senior Trump campaign staffer Alva Johnson claims Trump grabbed her hand and leaned in to kiss her on the lips outside a rally in Tampa on Aug. 24, 2016, as he exited an RV. She then turned her head and dodged the kiss, but Trump still managed to smooch the side of her mouth.
A year after Trump allegedly tried to sexually assault Johnson, she praised the newly-elected president in an Alabama-based radio interview uncovered by The Washington Post.
“He is more incredible in person than I think you would even think as you see him on TV,” she exclaimed. “He’s just the nicest guy… He treats everyone as if they are a part of his family.”
The accuser’s attorney, Hassan Zavareei maintains his client commended Trump in the interview because she was bound by a nondisclosure agreement and didn’t disclose Trump’s inappropriate behavior because she was awaiting the job promotion.
Johnson “was saying what she thought Trump and his supporters wanted,” Zavareei told the Post. “ She was under an oppressive NDA that prevents her from saying anything negative about the president. She was also trying to move on with her life and had an application for a job with the embassy in Portugal pending.”
The former campaign staffer, who worked as the campaign’s director of outreach and coalitions in Alabama, also said she looked forward to being given a job as the “second-in-command” at the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon, boasting, “I will at some point be heading over to Portugal to work in the embassy.”
Johnson, says she is traumatized by Trump’s attempt to kiss her on the lips, but only felt compelled to publicly disclose the chilling encounter after the infamous video of him surfaced in October 2016 of Trump bragging that women “let him” grab them the genitals.
“I’ve tried to let it go,” she said as she broke down in tears in an interview with the Post, the only publication to obtain a draft copy of her complaint. “You want to move on with your life. I don’t sleep. I wake up at 4 in the morning looking at the news. I feel guilty. The only thing I did was show up for work one day.”
She filed a federal lawsuit against Trump Monday in Florida, seeking unspecified damages for emotional pain and suffering. Johnson also accuses Trump of racial discrimination in the suit claiming she was paid less than her white male counterparts because she is black.
In an interview MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Tuesday, Johnson elaborated on how she was “really grossed out” when Trump allegedly forcibly kissed her.
“I wasn’t close to him. I was wearing a baseball cap. He had to pass me on his way exiting the RV. I said, ‘Now you go and do a good job and kick ass because I’ve been away from my family for a long time.’ And he stopped, he grabbed my hand, and he starts looking at me and then as he’s looking at me, he’s holding my hand, he said ‘I’m not going to let you down. I know you’ve been away from your family. And I appreciate what you are doing.’ And he’s holding my hand and starts coming towards me. And so he is still holding my hand. I just had a lot of internal dialogue, and I’m like ‘is he going to hug me?’ And he was coming directly for my face. And he’s going to kiss my lips. I turned my mouth, so he caught me right in the corner of my mouth, and I was just kind of frozen. I didn’t know how to process it. I knew it was inappropriate. It was gross and creepy. I can sometimes still see those lips.”
White House Press Secretary rebuked Johnson’s allegations in a statement, calling the accuser’s deposition “absurd on its face.”
“This never happened and is directly contradicted by highly credible eye witness accounts,” she wrote.
Karen Giorno, director of Trump’s Florida campaign, and former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi were both reportedly present at the time Johnson says Trump kissed her and deny Johnson’s accusations.
“Do I recall seeing anything inappropriate? One hundred percent no,” Bondi told the Post. ‘I’m a prosecutor, and if I saw something inappropriate, I would have said something.”
Giorno called the allegation “ridiculous,” insisting that it “that absolutely did not happen.”
Johnson, who registered as a Democrat in California and voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, is the first accuser to level charges of sexual misconduct against Trump since he’s taken office. She is also the only to claim he made an unwanted pass at her during the campaign. She told the Post she worked for Trump’s campaign because she thought the business magnate would help the black community.
Summer Zervos, a former “Apprentice” reality TV contestant alleges Trump forcibly kissed and groped her in 2007 and is suing the president for defamation.