On Thursday, People vigorously defended reporter Natasha Stoynoff, who has been attacked by the Donald Trump campaign after she spoke out about a 2005 sexual assault by Trump.
CNN Money reported that People editor-in-chief Jess Cagle blasted the campaign and the candidate in a statement released Thursday.
Titled Why We Printed Natasha Stoynoff’s Story of Being Assaulted by Donald Trump, Cagle’s statement sharply upbraided the candidate and reiterated that Stoynoff came forward out of concern for the country.
“We are grateful to Natasha Stoynoff for telling her story. Ms. Stoynoff is a remarkable, ethical, honest and patriotic woman, and she has shared her story of being physically attacked by Donald Trump in 2005 because she felt it was her duty to make the public aware,” wrote Cagle.
“To assign any other motive is a disgusting, pathetic attempt to victimize her again. We stand steadfastly by her, and are proud to publish her clear, credible account of what happened,” he continued.
“It is heartbreaking that her fear of retaliation by Trump kept her from reporting the incident when it happened. She has carried this secret for more than a decade, and we hope that by coming forward now she is relieved of that burden.”
Stoynoff revealed this week that she was assaulted by Trump on the grounds of his Palm Beach resort, Mar-a-Lago when she went in December of 2005 to report on Trump’s one-year anniversary of marrying his third wife Melania.
The writer said that Trump separated from her production team on the pretense of showing her a room in the estate’s mansion.
“We walked into that room alone, and Trump shut the door behind us. I turned around, and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat,” she said. She tried to force Trump off of her, but he overpowered her.
It was only when Trump’s butler burst into the room to say that Melania was coming that Trump released his hold on Stoynoff.
The Trump campaign insists that this “never happened.”
On Twitter, Trump wrote, “Why didn’t the writer of the twelve year old article in People Magazine mention the ‘incident’ in her story. Because it did not happen!”
Later in the day at a rally in West Palm Beach, Trump brushed off Stoynoff’s accusations by saying that she isn’t pretty enough for him.
“Take a look,” Trump said. “You take look, look at her, look at her words, you tell me what you think. I don’t think so.”
A large and growing number of women have come forward to the New York Times, the Palm Beach Post and other newspapers to related their tales of having been forcibly groped and kissed by Trump over the years. The campaign insists that the stories are fabrications and that the women are speaking up to sabotage Trump’s electoral chances or in their own self-interest.