Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the Republican vice presidential nominee, vowed on Friday that there was evidence to disprove the many claims of sexual improprieties against his ticket-mate, Donald Trump. Well, the Trump campaign made good on its promise, contributing yet another surreal twist to this already stupefying election season.
At issue are the allegations of Jessica Leeds, who told The New York Times this week that Trump had “grabbed her breasts and attempted to reach up her skirt” more than three decades ago when she was seated next to him in first class on a cross-country flight to New York.
“He was like an octopus,” Leeds told the Times.
Now, as the New York Post’s Daniel Halper reports, a British man named Anthony Gilberthorpe has stepped forward to serve as an exculpatory witness:
The man says he was sitting across from the accuser and contacted the Trump campaign because he was incensed by her account — which is at odds with what he witnessed.
“I have only met this accuser once and frankly cannot imagine why she is seeking to make out that Trump made sexual advances on her. Not only did he not do so (and I was present at all times) but it was she that was the one being flirtatious,” Anthony Gilberthorpe said in a note provided to The Post by the Trump campaign.
Gilberthorpe insists that Leeds was the one “trying too hard,” and that she confessed to him that she wanted to “marry” Trump. Reports suggest that Gilberthorpe would have been around 18 years old when at the time of the flight.
“Gilberthorpe has no evidence to back up his claim — just his self-described excellent memory,” Halper reports.
And speaking of excellent memories, here’s one the U.K. Mirror had in July 2014:
Senior Tory cabinet ministers were supplied with underage boys for sex parties, it is sensationally claimed.
Former Conservative activist Anthony Gilberthorpe said he told Margaret Thatcher 25 years ago about what he had witnessed and gave her names of those involved.
His allegations that he saw top Tories having sex with boys comes after David Cameron launched a Government inquiry into claims of a cover-up.
Anthony, 52, said: “I am prepared to speak to the inquiry. I believe I am a key witness.”
Trawling seedy streets during a Tory conference, Gilberthorpe says he was asked to find underage rent boys for a private sex party at a top hotel.
Hmmm. Halper mentions this in his piece, but that hasn’t stopped the Trump campaign from excitedly tweeting about the story:
An additional memory of sex and deception and rumored payoffs comes from Talking Points Memo, which notes that:
Gilberthorpe was also the alleged tipster behind a sex scandal that led to the downfall of conservative British parliamentarian Piers Merchant’s career. Merchant, after he resigned, accused Gilberthorpe of setting up his affair with a 17-year-old hostess and leaking news of it to the Sunday Mirror, a British tabloid, in exchange for £25,000.
I reckon that when you’ve been accused of as many sexual grotesqueries as the reality-television host has, you have to take help wherever you can find it. Still, if I had to pick a defender, Gilberthorpe ― to use one of Trump’s turns of phrase ― wouldn’t be my first choice.
Jason Linkins edits “Eat The Press” for The Huffington Post and co-hosts the HuffPost Politics podcast “So, That Happened.” Subscribe here, and listen to the latest episode below.