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Remarks about Women and their bodies emerging from a Presidential Candidate were “cruel, frightening, and it hurts,” says Michelle Obama

Obama did not mention the name Donald Trump during a rousing and highly emotional campaign speech for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire

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First lady Michelle Obama speaks during a campaign rally for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Manchester, New Hampshire, Oct. 13, 2016. VOA
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October 14, 2016: First lady Michelle Obama said on Thursday that remarks about women and their bodies emerging from one of the presidential candidates were “cruel, frightening, and it hurts.”

Obama did not mention the name Donald Trump during a rousing and highly emotional campaign speech for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire. But she was clearly referring to fresh allegations from four women who say Trump groped and forced kisses on them.

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“This is not normal, This is not politics as usual,” Obama said. “This is disgraceful. It is intolerable. And it doesn’t matter what party you belong to — Democrat, Republican, independent — no woman deserves to be treated this way. None of us deserves this kind of abuse. … This has got to stop right now.”

Young women listen to first lady Michelle Obama speak during a campaign rally for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Manchester, N.H., Oct. 13, 2016. VOA
Young women listen to first lady Michelle Obama speak during a campaign rally for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Manchester, N.H., Oct. 13, 2016. VOA

The first lady said she was not just concerned about “a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behaviour” and how that affects young girls and boys. She said the entire world looks toward the United States as a model for women’s rights and education.

Moral authority

“But if we have a president who routinely degrades women, who brags about sexually assaulting women, then how can we maintain our moral authority in the world?” Obama asked. “How can we continue to be a beacon of freedom and justice and human dignity?”

Trump was just as forceful in defending himself against allegations made by women in The New York Times, The Palm Beach (Florida) Post, and PeopleMagazine that he had groped them. He called their stories “totally, absolutely false.”

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“These claims are all fabricated. They’re pure fiction and outright lies,” Trump told supporters Thursday in Florida. “These events never, ever happened, and the people who said them fully understand.”

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the South Florida Fairgrounds and Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Fla., Oct. 13, 2016. VOA
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the South Florida Fairgrounds and Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Fla., Oct. 13, 2016. VOA

Trump said that he had “substantial evidence to dispute” the claims and that he would make it public at an “appropriate time very soon.”

Trump said Hillary and former President Bill Clinton know “very well” the stories are false. He called the U.S. media a “political special interest” allied with the Clintons in an effort to destroy his bid for the White House.

He demanded that the Times retract its story and threatened to sue the newspaper. An attorney for the Times said it stood by the story and welcomed the chance to meet Trump in court.

Clinton’s response

Hillary Clinton’s only response to the newest Trump allegations was to recommend that people watch Michelle Obama’s speech, saying the first lady made a “compelling and strong case about the stakes in the election.”

Seventy-four year-old Jessica Leeds told the Times that she sat next to Trump on an airline flight more than 30 years ago. She alleged Trump grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt before she fled to another seat in the back of the plane.

“He was like an octopus,” Leeds said. “His hands were everywhere.” She said she saw Trump two years later at a charity event and that he started insulting her.

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Another woman, Rachel Crooks, described her 2005 encounter with Trump, telling the Times that she met him for the first time outside an elevator in his Manhattan building and that he almost immediately started kissing her on the mouth.

Mindy McGillivray talked about her meeting with Trump to The Palm Beach Post, saying he grabbed her rear end backstage after a show at his Mar-a-Lago resort, where she was assisting a photographer.

Supporters of Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump recite the Pledge of Allegiance at a campaign rally in Panama City, Florida, Oct. 11, 2016. VOA
Supporters of Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump recite the Pledge of Allegiance at a campaign rally in Panama City, Florida, Oct. 11, 2016. VOA

Reporter’s account

People Magazine reporter Natasha Stoynoff talked about interviewing Trump and his then-pregnant wife, Melania, at Mar-a-Lago in 2005 when he took her into a room and “pushed me against the wall and forced his tongue down my throat.”

Stoynoff said Trump told her they were going to have an affair.

McGillivray and Leeds said they both shouted at their television sets during last Sunday’s Trump-Clinton debate when they heard him deny ever forcing himself on women.

Trump was answering a question about a leaked 2005 videotape in which he bragged that he could grope women because he is a “star.” He dismissed the remarks as “locker-room banter,” but he apologized and said he hated what he had said.

The allegations against Trump may have wrecked his presidential hopes.

RealClearPolitics, a political website, said Clinton nationally now had a 6 percentage-point lead over Trump with the election less than a month away.

Many fellow Republicans have seemingly conceded the White House to Clinton and are now focused on maintaining control of Congress. (VOA)

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Trump meets Florida school shooting survivors, suggests arming teachers

The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers

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The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers.
The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers. Wikimedia Commons

US President Donald Trump met survivors and families of the victims that were killed in the Florida school shooting and suggested that teachers and staff members should be provided with arms to avert such massacres, the media reported.

Trump’s comment came during a White House “listening session” on Wednesday which was attended by families and students including six survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a 19-year-old man Nikolas Cruz armed with an assault rifle killed 17 people on February 14, reports CNN.

The event brought Trump face-to-face with students and parents who have demanded action on gun violence.

“If you had a teacher who was adept with the firearm, they could end the attack very quickly,” he said, stating that schools could arm up to 20 per cent of their teachers to stop “maniacs” who may try and attack them.

Also Read: Is Donald Trump’s presidency turning out to be a reward for Trump Jr.?

“This would be obviously only for people who were very adept at handling a gun, and it would be, it’s called concealed carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them. They’d go for special training and they would be there and you would no longer have a gun-free zone,” Trump said. “Gun-free zone to a maniac — because they’re all cowards — a gun-free zone is ‘let’s go in and let’s attack because bullets aren’t coming back at us’.”

The event brought Trump face-to-face with students and parents who have demanded action on gun violence.
The event brought Trump face-to-face with students and parents who have demanded action on gun violence. Wikimedia Commons

Acknowledging that the idea was controversial, Trump said that his administration would give it serious study.

The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers.

Trump’s idea of arming teachers and school staff was met with support from many of the attendees, CNN reported.

Fred Abt, the father of Parkland shooting survivor Carson Abt, said he had discussed with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that rather than waiting for first responders to arrive, it would be more efficient to have firearms locked on school campuses.

Also Read: Daughter of Presidential Candidate Donald Trump to celebrate Diwali in a Hindu Temple in the US

“One possible solution, which may not be very popular, would be to have people in the school, teachers, administrators who have volunteered to have a firearm safely locked in the classroom who are given training throughout the year,” he said.

“There are plenty of teachers who are already licensed to carry firearms, have them raise their hands to volunteer for the training, and when something like this starts, the first responders are already on campus.

Andrew Pollack, a father of one of the 17 victims who died in the Florida shooting, said he was speaking because his daughter couldn’t.

“We as a country failed our children…

This shouldn’t happen.”

The President, flanked by the students, went around the room and shook hands before commencing the session.

Also Read: DACA is a Bold Welcome Step by President Trump

Trump also later tweeted he would “always remember” the event, adding “we must keep our children safe”.

“I will always remember the time I spent today with courageous students, teachers and families,” he tweeted, along with a link to the full event.

“So much love in the midst of so much pain. We must not let them down. We must keep our children safe!!” (IANS)