Donald Trump: I Didn't Apologize To My Wife After Sexual Assault Allegations

"I don't know those people," he said of women who have accused him of sexual assault.

WASHINGTON 鈥昍epublican presidential nominee Donald Trump said at Wednesday night鈥檚 debate that he never apologized to his wife, Melania Trump, after a number of women came forward to substantiate Trump鈥檚 own boasts of sexual misconduct.

Trump, during his final debate with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, brushed aside allegations from women who say he sexually assaulted them, and instead blamed Clinton鈥檚 鈥渟leazy鈥 campaign for spreading the stories.

Those stories are all totally false, I have to say that,鈥 Trump said. 鈥淚 didn鈥檛 even apologize to my wife, who鈥檚 sitting right here, because I didn鈥檛 do anything.

Days earlier, Melania Trump cast her husband in a more remorseful light. In an interview with Fox News 鈥 her first since publication of the tape of Trump saying he can get away with grabbing women 鈥渂y the pussy鈥 鈥 she said her husband had apologized for the tape.

鈥淭hose words, they were offensive to me and they were inappropriate,鈥 Melania Trump told Fox News. 鈥淎nd he apologized to me. And I expect 鈥 I accept his apology. And we are moving on.鈥

Donald Trump has a long history of making misogynist comments about women, but until recently, his supporters have mostly shrugged them off as nothing more than proof he鈥檚 a man who appreciates women. But this month, a 2005 鈥淎ccess Hollywood鈥 tape surfaced of Trump boasting that sexual consent doesn鈥檛 apply to him because he is famous.

The lewd recording prompted numerous women to come forward with firsthand accounts of experiences that substantiate Trump鈥檚 claims. More than a dozen women, including Trump鈥檚 ex-wife, have accused him of sexual advances, ranging from unwanted kissing to rape.

When asked on Wednesday about the allegations, Trump said the stories had been 鈥渓argely debunked鈥 and claimed, 鈥淚 don鈥檛 know those people.鈥

The accusers include a journalist who interviewed Trump and alleged he forcibly kissed her while Melania Trump was in another room, an aspiring model who says he touched her vagina through her underwear at a club, and an 鈥淎pprentice鈥 contestant who said he kissed her on the lips after she was interviewed for a job. A number of contestants for both the Miss Teen USA and the Miss USA pageants also have claimed that Trump intentionally walked into dressing rooms. (鈥滻 sort of get away with things like that,鈥 he once told radio host Howard Stern.)

Clinton took the opportunity during the debate to repeat Trump鈥檚 past comments about women.

鈥淗e attacked the woman reporter writing the story, called her disgusting, as he has called a number of women during this campaign,鈥 Clinton said. 鈥淒onald thinks belittling women makes him bigger. He goes after their dignity, their self-worth, and I don鈥檛 think there is a woman anywhere who doesn鈥檛 know what that feels like.鈥

Trump has strongly denied the sexual assault allegations. He has claimed political motives and has personally attacked his accusers for their appearance or behavior. He suggested that Natasha Stoynoff, the former People magazine writer, wasn鈥檛 attractive enough for him to grope.

The Trump campaign also has sought to target Clinton鈥檚 husband, former President Bill Clinton, with sex allegations. Trump invited women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct to the second debate, and on Wednesday, an additional accuser came forward to Breitbart News, which is run by Trump鈥檚 campaign CEO.

Hillary Clinton is running for president 鈥 not her husband. But she has stayed relatively quiet about the assault allegations against Trump, in part because of her role in standing by her husband.

鈥淣obody has more respect for women than I do,鈥 Trump insisted Wednesday night. 鈥淣obody.鈥

Editor鈥檚 note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims 鈥 1.6 billion members of an entire religion 鈥 from entering the U.S.

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