One of Donald Trump’s most spirited surrogates on Wednesday offered up a bizarrely specific response to newly surfaced allegations that the Republican nominee groped a female passenger seated beside him on an airplane over 30 years ago.
Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson argued on CNN that a woman’s account of Trump lifting the armrest of a first-class seat to grope her was not credible because armrests were fixed in first-class cabins at the time.
“Guess what? First-class seats have fixed armrests!” Pierson said of Jessica Leeds’ account. “So what I can tell you about her story, if she was groped on a plane, it wasn’t by Donald Trump and it certainly wasn’t in first class.”
I’m never complaining about sports TV talk shows again. pic.twitter.com/r9tELXOchh
— Jason Gay (@jasongay) October 13, 2016
Leeds, who is now 74, told The New York Times in an interview published Wednesday that Trump reached for her breasts and tried to reach up her skirt on a flight to New York. She was a traveling executive at a paper company at the time and had never met Trump before.
The Trump campaign has insisted the story is false and sent a letter to the Times threatening them with a defamation lawsuit.
Pierson accused the women of coming forward because they want “fame.”
Her comments recounting the specific flights running into New York at the time with first-class cabins prompted her fellow CNN panelists to burst into laughter.
“We’re talking about the early 1980s, Don,” she said to CNN’s Don Lemon. “Seriously, back then you had planes—a DC 9, a DC 10, an MD 80, 707 and maybe an L 1011, but she said specifically this was to New York and this is what’s important. So we can X out the LC 11 and 10.”
Atlantic contributing editor Peter Beinart laughed at Pierson’s apparently encyclopedic plane model knowledge.
Airplane enthusiast group NYC Aviation sent a tweet noting that all of the airlines she mentioned flew into New York City at the time.
— NYCAviation (@NYCAviation) October 13, 2016