Another Woman Is Accusing Donald Trump of Sexual Misconduct
Here's what you need to know.
Former Trump campaign staffer Alva Johnson filed a lawsuit in federal court against President Donald Trump on Monday, alleging he kissed her without her consent during his 2016 campaign, The Washington Post reported.
Of course, if you've been paying attention for the past three years, then you know that Johnson's sexual misconduct allegations are not the first against Trump. Fortune reported that at least 22 women have publicly accused Trump of sexual misconduct since a 2005 Access Hollywood tape was released in October 2016. On the tape, Trump is heard bragging about grabbing women's genitals and kissing them without their consent.
Here's a breakdown of everything you need to know about the latest woman to come forward.
Who Is Alva Johnson?
Johnson was director of outreach and coalitions for the Trump campaign in Alabama in 2016. According to the Post, she is now an event planner who lives in Madison County, Alabama.
Vox reported that Johson met Trump at a 2015 rally in Birmingham, Alabama. In the lawsuit, she alleges that when Trump first met her, he looked her up and down and said, “Oh, beautiful, beautiful, fantastic."
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What Are the Allegations?
In an interview with the Post, Johnson said that "Trump grabbed her hand and leaned in to kiss her on the lips as he exited an RV outside the rally in Tampa on Aug. 24, 2016." Johnson, who was at the time the director of outreach and coalitions in Alabama, called the unwelcome interaction "super-creepy and inappropriate.”
“I immediately felt violated because I wasn’t expecting it or wanting it,” she told the Post. “I can still see his lips coming straight for my face.”
Johnson is seeking "unspecified damages for emotional pain and suffering." The federal lawsuit also alleges discrimination, claiming that Johnson, who is black, was paid less than her white male counterparts.
How Did the White House Respond?
The White House dismissed the allegations. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that the lawsuit is “absurd on its face.”
“This never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible eye witness accounts,” Sanders wrote in the statement.
Sanders is referring to Johnson's claim that a campaign official and Pam Bondi — the then-attorney general of Florida — saw the incident. However, both have denied seeing the unwanted kiss.
At the time this story was published, Donald Trump had not yet responded.
Remind Me of Donald Trump's History of Sexual Misconduct Again?
Numerous women have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct which vary in terms of severity. However, Johnson is the first to report an incident that took place after Trump's presidential campaign began, according to Vox.
During the now-infamous Access Hollywood interview from 2005, Trump admitted to some questionable behavior. He speaks about making advances on a married woman, then continues to say about his interactions with other women: "You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything."
Anything Else I Should Know?
Johnson said she kept working for the campaign after the alleged kiss, but it was that Access Hollywood tape that led her to take action.
“I felt sick to my stomach,” she said. “That was what he did to me.”
She quit three weeks before the election and in October 2016 met with a lawyer. She claims that the lawyer found her story credible, but he did not take the case, telling her, “Right now my practice simply cannot dive into something like that which would be so time-consuming with an uncertain outcome.”
Johnson attempted to put the event behind her. But as the #MeToo movement grew and she began to see the impact of the president’s policies, she sought counsel and decided to file the federal lawsuit.
“I’ve tried to let it go,” she told the Post. “You want to move on with your life. I don’t sleep. I wake up at four in the morning looking at the news. I feel guilty. The only thing I did was show up for work one day.”
Johnson’s allegations come on the heels of Trump's 2020 reelection bid. Whether or not they have an impact on his campaign remains to be seen.