The Slatest

Donald Trump Really Thinks Calling His Accusers Ugly Is a Winning Line

Really not America’s first choice.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Yesterday at a rally, Trump implied that People magazine writer Natasha Stoynoff, one of the many women who’s accused him of groping and non-consensual lip-mashing, was not attractive enough for the story to be real. “Take a look. You look at her,” Trump said. “Look at her words. You tell me what you think. I don’t think so. I don’t think so.”

That was a really bad thing to say! But to his mind, it was somehow exculpatory. Apparently Donald Trump thinks this tactic’s a winner, because at his rally in Greensboro, North Carolina this afternoon, he delivered similar imaginary alibis against other accusers.

“When you looked at that horrible woman last night you said, ’I don’t think so,’” Trump proclaimed to a smattering of laughs today. It’s not clear which accuser he was speaking about. He had just finished a rant against the New York Times, so perhaps Jessica Leeds, who appeared in a video for the Times. “Whoever she is, wherever she comes from, the stories are total fiction, they’re 100 percent made up,” he continued. “They never happened.”

He then suggested that he doubts any man would be inclined to sexually assault the woman in question, but especially not someone with his immaculate taste. “They never would happen. I don’t think it would happen with very many people”—the audience started to laugh again—”but they certainly aren’t going to happen with me.”

Trump went on to joke about one of the latest accusers, whose story he just read in the Washington Post.

“Kristin Anderson was deep in conversation with acquaintances at a crowded Manhattan nightspot and did not notice the figure to her right on a red velvet couch,” the Post reported Friday, “until, she recalls, his fingers slid under her miniskirt, moved up her inner thigh, and touched her vagina through her underwear.”

Here’s how Trump described the story in Greensboro: “One came out recently where I was sitting alone in some club. I really don’t sit alone that much, honestly, folks, I don’t think I sit alone. I was sitting alone by myself like this. And then I went”—and here he made a noise and lunged with his right arm—”to somebody.” He gave an incredulous look.

A few minutes later, his story turned back to Leeds, who had said Trump groped her on an airplane. Referring to how the press is trying to stop his “great movement,” he said, “The only way they figure they can slow it down is to come up with people that are willing to say, ‘Oh, I was with Donald Trump in 1980. I was sitting with him on an airplane. And he went after me on the plane.’”

“Yeah, I’m going to go after you,” he joked. “Believe me, she would not be my first choice, that I can tell you. You don’t know. That would not be my first choice.”

Judging from the laughs and cheers he got, these may be winning lines in the context of the gross-out stand-up routine of his rallies. I’m willing to bet that upcoming polls will suggest they’re not winning lines with most voters.

Read more Slate coverage of the 2016 campaign.