One of the most audacious things about Donald Trump’s campaign the past couple of weeks has been his attempt to portray the many women accusing him of sexual assault and unwanted physical advances as all being liars.
To believe that, you have to believe that all the women are lying now and that Trump was lying in his now infamous Access Hollywood live mic video when he said this:
I'm automatically attracted to beautiful [women]—I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything ... Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.
But the other thing that Trump is asking you to believe—against all reason—is that that contemporaneous witnesses who were with the women when the alleged assaults happened or were told by the women about the assaults in the days and years following are all also lying. This would truly be a rigged conspiracy.
In that vein, MSNBC’s Irin Carmon has noted that Melania Trump is now asking us to believe that not only is one of her husband’s accusers, former People writer Natasha Stoynoff, lying about having met the would-be first lady on the street in Manhattan but that an eyewitness to that meeting is also lying. From People magazine:
On Monday evening, Melania defended her husband in a CNN interview with Anderson Cooper, during which she denied Stoynoff’s account. “The story that came out in PEOPLE magazine, the writer she said my husband took her to the room and started kissing her, she wrote in the same story about me that she saw me on 5th Avenue, and I said to her ‘Natasha, how come we don’t see you anymore?’ I was never friends with her, I would not recognize her,” the 46-year-old mother of one said in Monday’s sit-down interview.
But PEOPLE Editor in Chief Jess Cagle says in a statement about Stoynoff’s piece, “In this week’s issue of PEOPLE (which hits newsstands in New York on Wednesday), we feature a story that includes named sources who can corroborate Natasha Stoynoff’s account – including one woman (a friend of Natasha’s) who was actually with her when she bumped into Melania Trump on Fifth Ave., as outlined in her story.”
Here is that video:
So again, the question boils down to, who do you believe: one Trump, or multiple other people?
Update, Oct. 18, 2016: People has now published the name and statement of the witness to the meeting:
Stoynoff’s friend Liza Herz remembers being there during the chance meeting. “They chatted in a friendly way,” Herz, who met Stoynoff in college, says. “And what struck me most was that Melania was carrying a child and wearing heels.”