After the infamous Access Hollywood tape surfaced during the presidential campaign — in which Donald Trump said he grabbed women “by the p—y” — Melania Trump was “adamantly opposed” to appearing on TV alongside her husband for damage control, according to an excerpt of an explosive new book about the president.
“ ‘Not doing that,’ Melania said in her Slovenian accent, dismissively waving her hand,” veteran journalist Bob Woodward writes in Fear: Trump in the White House, according to an excerpt in The Guardian. “ ‘No way. No, no, no.’”
Trump said Wednesday during an Oval Office photo opportunity: “The book means nothing. It’s a work of fiction.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders released on Tuesday a blanket denial of all the claims made in Woodward’s book.
The Access Hollywood tape, released in early October 2016, revealed Trump boasting in 2005 that he is “automatically attracted” to beautiful women and starts kissing them. “I don’t wait,” he bragged to then-Access Hollywood host Billy Bush. Trump then added: “Grab them by the p—y. You can do anything.”
Immediately following the release of the tape — and subsequent backlash — Trump issued a statement saying it was simply “locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago.”
At the time, Melania called her husband’s comments “unacceptable and offensive to me.”
“This does not represent the man that I know,” she said in her 2016 statement. “He has the heart and mind of a leader.
“I hope people will accept his apology, as I have, and focus on the important issues facing our nation and the world,” she added.
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In the leaked tape, Trump — newly married to Melania at the time — also tells Bush that he tried to “move” on an unnamed woman later revealed to be Bush’s then-cohost Nancy O’Dell.
In the weeks that followed the Access Hollywood scandal, multiple women alleged on the record that Trump had touched, grabbed or kissed them without their permission.
Over the course of his campaign, more than 10 would come forward, including PEOPLE writer Natasha Stoynoff, who alleged that Trump attacked her at Mar-a-Lago during a 2005 interview. Trump has denied all of the allegations.