White House Denies Allegations That Trump Kissed Former Campaign Staffer Without Consent

White House Denies AllegationsUPDATED 2019/02/25

A former Trump staffer who worked on his 2016 presidential campaign says that Trump kissed her without her consent at a gathering of supporters before a Florida rally. Alva Johnson is alleging in her lawsuit that the now-president grabbed her hand and leaned in to kiss her on the lips outside of a rally in Tampa, Florida on August 24th, 2016. The kiss, unwanted, landed on the side of her mouth when she turned her head. Johnson said that the interaction still causes her anguish.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders called Johnson’s allegation “absurd on its face.” She added, “This never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible eye witness accounts.”

Johnson identified two Trump supporters, Pam Bondi (former Florida attorney general) and another campaign official, as witnesses. The two witnesses denied seeing the alleged interaction in interviews.

Johnson had been singing Trump’s praises in 2017 and even said in one interview that she was expecting to be given a job at the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon. The interviews are being used by some as proof that she is lying, but Johnson’s lawyers say that she was simply bound by a non-disclosure agreement, an oft-used Trump document that keeps people from saying disparaging things about the president.

Johnson is the only Trump accuser to come forward since he took office and the first to allege unwanted contact during his campaign. Trump is already facing a defamation lawsuit in New York, which is being brought by a former Apprentice contestant, Summer Zervos, who claims Trump groped her and forcibly kissed her in 2007.