Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) vigorously defended his man for president, Donald Trump, on Sunday against the many women who have stepped forward and accused him of sexually assaulting them.
“Some of these things appear to me, on their face, to be kind of untrue,” Giuliani said, adding that he didn’t want to accuse the women of “lying” but that he believes Trump, who has said they are lying.
Jessica Leeds, 74, told The New York Times recently that more than three decades ago, she sat next to Trump in the first-class section of a flight to New York. The two had never met. Trump then physically assaulted her:
About 45 minutes after takeoff, she recalled, Mr. Trump lifted the armrest and began to touch her.
According to Ms. Leeds, Mr. Trump grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt.
“He was like an octopus,” she said. “His hands were everywhere.”
She fled to the back of the plane. “It was an assault,” she said.
On CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, Giuliani said that because he’s rich and gets to fly first class all the time, he knows such an assault could never happen.
“Fifteen minutes of groping in a first-class cabin of an airplane, doesn’t make sense,” he said. “I’ve been in first class a lot, fortunately. Since I stopped being mayor, I can afford first class. You see everything that goes on in first class.”
Sexual assault on airplanes happens, even if Giuliani doesn’t think it does. In late August, Slate reported that the FBI had 40 open cases involving sexual assaults on aircraft in 2015 and 37 cases so far in 2016. No federal agency, however, maintains data on sexual assaults on airplanes.
But there are plenty of reports of these incidents. A man who tried to rape a woman in a plane bathroom. A man who molested a woman asleep in the seat next to him. Another man who tried to put his hands down the pants of a sleeping woman.
Even when women do report these incidents, flight crews don’t always know what to do. When a woman named Dana T. reported her sexual assault to a flight attendant, she first faced skepticism. The man eventually admitted to what he did ― claiming it was an “accident” ― but was allowed to leave the plane without any repercussions or questioning by law enforcement.
Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson also tried to use the “it couldn’t happen in first class” defense recently, claiming that first-class sections of planes didn’t have movable armrests back then. (They did.)
Trump has responded to the women who have accused him of sexual assault by attacking their physical appearance and saying they were too ugly to have attracted his attention anyway.
UPDATE: 10/17 ― HuffPost reader Tom writes in: “Rudy Guliani is 100% wrong about groping would never happen in First Class. I worked for four major airlines over a course of 38 years and I can assure that on many occasions far worse than groping has happened in First Class, both consensual and non consensual.”
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Editor’s 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 — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.