Trump calls female accusers 'horrible, horrible liars'
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Rocked by allegations of sexual assault, Donald Trump on Thursday lashed out at his female accusers as "horrible, horrible liars" as the deeply divisive presidential campaign sank further into charges and countercharges of predatory treatment of women.
The Republican businessman devoted much of a Florida speech to defending himself against multiple reports of inappropriate sexual behavior — accusations that he blamed on Hillary Clinton's campaign and the news media.
"These vicious claims about me, of inappropriate conduct with women, are totally and absolutely false. And the Clintons know it," Trump declared. His accusers, he said, "are horrible people. They're horrible, horrible liars."
The comments came minutes after he called a reporter "a sleazebag" for asking whether Trump had ever touched or groped a woman without her consent.
First lady Michelle Obama, meanwhile, offered an emotional counterargument in battleground New Hampshire, warning that Trump's behavior sends a dangerous message to the nation's children.
"The belief that you can do anything you want to a woman, it is cruel, it is frightening, and the truth is it hurts," Obama said. She added, "We can't expose our children to this any longer, not for another minute, let alone for four years."
The New York Times and the Palm Beach Post on Wednesday reported stories about three women who alleged Trump had inappropriately touched them. Separately, a People Magazine reporter wrote a detailed first-person account of being attacked by Trump while interviewing the businessman and his wife, Melania Trump.
Trump said the claims "are all fabricated."
"They're pure fiction, and they're outright lies. These events never happened," he said at the West Palm Beach rally.
He added, "I will not allow the Clinton machine to turn our campaign into a discussion of their slanders and lies."
At the same time, Trump's flailing campaign signaled it would spend the election's final month relitigating Bill Clinton's marital affairs and unproven charges of sexual assault, as well as what Trump says is Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's role in intimidating the women who were involved.