This is the sixth in a series of blog posts about Donald Trump's past as a sexual harasser/assaulter.
As she initially recounted to the New York Times in a story published Wednesday, she says Trump groped and kissed her as the two sat next to each other in first class.Trump's defense is familiar. According to NPR, Trump at a campaign stop in North Carolina just after the Leeds assault story broke. he said this in his defense:
"Whether it was 15 minutes or not, it seemed like forever," she said.
The encounter had begun as a "cordial" conversation over an in-flight dinner. Leeds said she had been escorted by a flight attendant from coach to first class, where she found herself seated next to Trump.
"They served a dinner. After the dinner was cleared he began encroaching on my side of the seat," Leeds told NPR's Audie Cornish. "Mr. Trump started coming over to me and groping me and trying to embrace me. And then his hands started going up my skirt."
Leeds said the assault continued for several minutes, though, as she recalls, neither she nor Trump ever said anything.
"I don't recall saying no, I don't recall saying stop," she said. "I don't recall saying anything. It was like a silent pantomime. I remember at one point looking over at the guy in the seat across the aisle, and his eyes were like bugging out of his head."
Leeds said she eventually stood up and walked back to her initial seat in coach, where she remained for the rest of the flight.
"It really rattled me," she said, to the point where after the flight landed, she remained in her seat until everyone else had exited the airplane, so that she wouldn't have to confront Trump a second time.
"Oh, I was with Donald Trump in 1980," Trump said, mimicking Leeds' accusation. "I was sitting with him on an airplane, and he went after me on the plane."Not that he would never have groped a woman on a plane but that he would have never groped her - but only because she's not good looking enough. Classy guy, that Donald. Very classy.
"Yeah, I'm going to go after you," Trump said dismissively, waving his arms. "Believe me – she would not be my first choice. That I can tell you."
As he said in his proclamation, "We must respond to sexual assault by identifying and holding perpetrators accountable."
Donald Trump, assaulter of Jessica Leeds.