GETTYSBURG, Pa. — Speaking near what he called the “hallowed ground” of a Civil War landmark, Donald Trump sought to look to the future of his potential first 100 days in office, but he first he returned to the past, vowing to sue the women who have accused him of sexual assault and accusing the media of biased reporting.
In his first campaign appearance of the day, the Republican presidential nominee gave a speech in a ballroom at the Eisenhower Hotel and Conference Center near Gettysburg National Military Park, the site of a bloody Civil War battle and a famous 1863 speech by President Abraham Lincoln.
“It is my privilege to be here in Gettysburg, hallowed ground where so many lives were given in service to freedom — amazing place,” Trump said soon after taking the stage. “President Lincoln served in a time of division like we’ve never seen before. It is my hope that we can look at his example to heal the divisions we are living through right now.”
But Trump spent the first part of his speech airing a litany of grievances. He branded as “liars” the nearly one dozen women who have come forward in recent weeks to accuse him of groping them against their will and vowed to sue them after the election. The allegations — including one from an adult film actress that was announced on Saturday — followed the release of a 2005 “Access Hollywood” recording in which Trump bragged about being able to force himself on women against their will because of his celebrity.
“Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign. Total fabrication,” Trump insisted Saturday. “The events never happened. Never. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over.” (In many cases, the women accusing Trump of misconduct have provided the publications with the names of witnesses and others who have supported their accounts.)
The nominee blasted the media and said that the women and news organizations are attempting to “poison” the minds of American voters. He also said, without providing evidence, that the accusations were the doing of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. He added later that “we’ll probably find out about their involvement” through litigation and that he was “so looking forward to doing that.”
He also accused reporters of not sufficiently covering his crowd sizes.
“The dishonest mainstream media is also part, and a major part, of this corruption. They’re corrupt,” he said. “They lie and fabricate stories to make a candidate that is not their preferred choice look as bad and even dangerous as possible. At my rallies, they never show or talk about the massive crowd size and try to diminish all of our events.”
The media routinely offers crowd estimates for both Republican and Democratic campaign events.
After spending more than 13 minutes on the attack, Trump read several numbered lists of things that he would do on his first day in office or during his first 100 days. Nearly all were things that he has repeatedly promised to do, but this was the first time he listed them in a speech.
In June, Trump gave a similar speech where he laid out just eight chief goals: Appoint judges who will uphold the U.S. Constitution, push for changes to the immigration system in order to protect American workers, challenge countries that benefit too much from trade deals, stop the flow of jobs out of the country, lift restrictions on energy production, repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, push for tax reform and impose new ethics rules for the office of the secretary of state.
In Saturday’s speech, Trump listed more than two dozen things he wants to do, including amending the Constitution to create term limits in Congress, renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade deals, overwriting “every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama” and suspending immigration from “terror-prone regions.”
Meanwhile, in California, an adult film actress named Jessica Drake stepped forward to accused Trump or someone acting on his behalf of offering her $10,000 and the use of his private jet if she would agree to come alone to his hotel suite at night after a golf tournament in Lake Tahoe in 2006.
At a news conference, Drake said she met Trump while working a booth at the tournament for her employer, Wicked Pictures. Trump then invited her and two other women to his suite in the evening, where, while wearing pajamas, Drake said he kissed the women each in turn without their permission.
According to Drake, after the group left his suite, a man called and asked her to return alone. When she declined, Drake said she was then called by Trump, who asked her to come to his suite for dinner and a party. “What do you want?” she said he asked. “How much?”
Later, she said Trump, or a man calling on his behalf, phoned again, this time with the monetary offer, which she said she declined.
Trump’s campaign issued a statement calling Drake’s account “totally false and ridiculous” and indicating that Trump “does not know this person, does not remember this person and would have no interest in ever knowing her.”
DelReal reported from Washington. Rosalind S. Helderman in Washington contributed to this report.