Trump denies apologising to wife over sexual assault allegations

US President, Donald Trump
US President, Donald Trump

US Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, on Wednesday denied apologising to his wife, Melania Trump, after a number of women came forward to substantiate Trump’s own boasts of sexual misconduct.

Trump, during his final debate with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, brushed aside allegations from women who say he sexually assaulted them, and instead blamed Clinton’s “sleazy” campaign for spreading the stories.

“Those stories are all totally false, I have to say that,” Trump said. “I didn’t even apologise to my wife, who’s sitting right here, because I didn’t do anything.”

Days earlier, Mrs Trump cast her husband in a more remorseful light. In an interview with Fox News ― her first since publication of the tape of Trump saying he can get away with grabbing women “by the pussy” ― she said her husband had apologised for the tape.

“Those words, they were offensive to me and they were inappropriate,” Melania Trump told Fox News. “And he apologised to me. And I expect ― I accept his apology. And we are moving on.”

When asked on Wednesday about the allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviours by more than a dozen women, Trump said the stories had been “largely debunked” and claimed, “I don’t know those people.”

The accusers include a journalist who interviewed Trump and alleged he forcibly kissed her while Melania was in another room, an aspiring model who says he touched her vagina through her underwear at a club, and an Apprentice contestant who said he kissed her on the lips after she was interviewed for a job.

A number of contestants for both the Miss Teen USA and the Miss USA pageants also have claimed that Trump intentionally walked into dressing rooms.

Clinton took the opportunity during the debate to repeat Trump’s past comments about women.

“He attacked the woman reporter writing the story, called her disgusting, as he has called a number of women during this campaign,” Clinton said.

“Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger. He goes after their dignity, their self-worth, and I don’t think there is a woman anywhere who doesn’t know what that feels like.”

The Trump campaign also has sought to target Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, with sex allegations. Trump invited women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct to the second debate, and on Wednesday, an additional accuser came forward to Breitbart News, which is run by Trump’s campaign CEO.

Trump refused to commit to accepting the election result if he loses.

“I will tell you at the time,” he told debate moderator, Chris Wallace.

For days he has claimed the election is “rigged”.

The Las Vegas debate continued the campaign’s bitter tone, with Trump calling the Democrat a “nasty woman”.

Polls show the Republican is losing in key battleground states after facing a slew of sexual assault allegations.