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The Washington Post reported on Monday that Alva Johnson, a former employee with President Donald Trump‘s 2016 campaign, is suing the president for damages over an alleged unwanted kiss during a campaign event in August 2016.
“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.”
The White House categorically denies the allegations. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the Post, “This never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible eye witness accounts,” including the accounts of former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Karen Giorno, the director of the Florida campaign. Stephanie Grisham, the former press director for the campaign and currently First Lady Melania Trump‘s spokeswoman, also denied seeing the kiss.
However, after the alleged incident, Johnson told her boyfriend, Miguel Rego, what she said had transpired. She also told her mother and stepfather. All three confirmed her account to the Post.
The suit, filed in federal court in Florida, also alleges racial and gender discrimination, alleging that Johnson was paid less than male, white colleagues, including “lower-ranked staff.”
Johnson, who registered as a Democrat in California and claimed to have voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, said she supported Trump because she thought his business background could be good for Black communities.
Johnson allegedly met the president at a 2015 campaign rally, where she said he looked her up and down and said, “Oh, beautiful, beautiful, fantastic,” the lawsuit states. The following year, Johnson took a job as the Trump’s campaign’s director of coalitions and outreach in Alabama. Johnson was later assigned to Florida, which is where the alleged incident took place.
According to the Post, on Aug. 24, 2016, Trump exited an RV to speak to supporters and head to a campaign rally. After Johnson told Trump to “kick ass” at the rally, the lawsuit states:
Trump grasped her hand and did not let go. He told her he knew she had been on the road for a long time and that she had been doing a great job. He also told Ms. Johnson that he would not forget about her, and that he was going to take care of her. As Defendant Trump spoke, he tightened his grip on Ms. Johnson’s hand and leaned towards her. He moved close enough that she could feel his breath on her skin. Ms. Johnson suddenly realized that Defendant Trump was trying to kiss her on the mouth, and attempted to avoid this by turning her head to the right. Defendant Trump kissed her anyway, and the kiss landed on the corner of her mouth.
Johnson said that when she learned of the Access Hollywood tapes, in which Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women, she knew that that was what had happened to her. Johnson continued to work in the Trump campaign after the alleged incident but quit after seeing the Access Hollywood tapes.
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The Post also discusses a family dispute from 2006, in which family members sought restraining orders against Johnson for calling her younger half-sister’s school and alleging the girl was using drugs, and another from an older sibling alleging that she fired Johnson for using company property to arrange extramarital affairs. Those petitions were withdrawn before Johnson had the opportunity to respond.
At least a dozen women have accused the president of sexual misconduct.
Ellen Ioanes is the FOIA reporter at the Daily Dot, where she covers U.S. politics. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School, and her work has appeared in the Guardian, the Center for Public Integrity, HuffPost India, and more.