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Former White House Staffers Say Trump Harassed Women While in Office

“I thought the way he engaged with women was dangerous,” said one former aide to Trump.

Facing the opposite direction of the camera, former President Donald Trump wears his signature red "MAGA" hat, during a round of golf at his course in Turnberry, Scotland, on May 2, 2023.

Following a jury in a civil trial on Tuesday finding former President Donald Trump liable for sexual assault, two former Trump aides have come forward with allegations that he engaged in sexual misconduct in the White House.

The two former aides — former White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah Griffin and former Trump White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham — appeared on CNN after the verdict was handed down in the case brought forward by writer E. Jean Carroll. In addition to finding Trump liable for sexually assaulting Carroll in the mid-1990s, the jury also found Trump liable for defaming her; for years, Trump had derided Carroll as a liar, using such vitriolic rhetoric that it had cost Carroll her job.

Carroll was awarded $5 million by the jury. Though Trump’s lewd behavior and comments toward women have been well-documented over the years, this is the first time a jury has rendered a verdict saying, within a civil court of law, that Trump had engaged in violent and sexually aggressive behavior toward another person.

After the verdict was handed down, Griffin said on CNN that there were “countless cases” of “impropriety” by Trump while he was president.

“I thought the way he engaged with women was dangerous,” she said, adding that there were “things that I would consider improper and that I had a duty to report” to higher-ups in the Trump administration.

“We wanted to chalk it up to locker room talk in 2016,” Griffin went on, referring to excuses made by Trump and his followers after leaked audio from an Access Hollywood tape was made public during that year’s presidential campaign. “It was not locker room talk.”

Grisham, who has detailed Trump’s predatory behavior in books she has written about her time in the administration, also appeared on CNN to discuss the verdict in the civil trial.

Trump frequently commented on women’s looks while he was in office, Grisham said, noting that one staffer in particular received the brunt of Trump’s unwanted advances.

“I did everything I could to keep her off of trips actually and to stay with her if she was with him alone, because I was really nervous about what could happen,” Grisham said.

Trump would sometimes order his subordinates to bring the staffer in question near him so that he could comment on her looks to others, Grisham added. “He one time had one of my other deputies bring her back so that they could ‘look at her ass’ is what he said to him,” she said.

Grisham also said that, short of bringing these incidents to the attention of then-chief of staff Mark Meadows, she and others who were uncomfortable with Trump’s behavior felt there was little they could do to hold him accountable.

“I think at the end of the day, what could they do other than go in there and say, ‘This isn’t good, sir?'” she said.

Though Trump did not testify in the civil trial, a video deposition of him responding to questions from Carroll’s lawyers was shown to jurors. During the deposition, Trump disparaged women multiple times; in one of his responses, he claimed that he wouldn’t have raped or assaulted Carroll because she wasn’t his “type.” Later, he told one of Caroll’s lawyers that she “wouldn’t be a choice” of his, either.

Over the years, Trump has been accused by at least 26 women of sexual harassment or assault, according to a tally kept by Vice.

After the jury ruled in her favor, Carroll celebrated the outcome, stating that the case wasn’t about money but rather about holding Trump responsible for his actions.

“I am overwhelmed, overwhelmed with joy and happiness and delight for the women in this country,” she said.

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