Trump Campaign Staffer Sues, Alleges Unwanted Kiss

Alva Johnson says Trump in 2016 kissed her partially on the mouth; also alleges pay disparity
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2019 10:45 AM CST
Trump Campaign Staffer Sues, Alleges Unwanted Kiss
President Trump speaks during an event in the Rose Garden on Feb. 15, 2018.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A female staffer on President Trump's 2016 campaign is suing the president, alleging that Trump gave her an unwanted kiss, partially on the mouth. Now Alva Johnson, 43, is suing, reports the Washington Post. Johnson, who is black, also alleges that her white, male peers on the campaign were paid more. As for the kiss: Johnson says she brought volunteers into an RV to take pictures with Trump during an August 2016 rally in Florida. As Trump was exiting to give a speech, she says she told him, "I've been on the road for you since March, away from my family," as outlined in the lawsuit. "You're doing an awesome job. Go in there and kick ass." At that point, she says Trump leaned in and took her hand. "Oh, my God, I think he's going to kiss me," recounts Johnson. "He's coming straight for my lips, so I turn my head, and he kisses me right on corner of my mouth.” She says she felt "violated."

White House press chief Sarah Sanders denies it happened, as do two people who Johnson says witnessed the kiss: Pam Bondi ("Do I recall seeing anything inappropriate? One hundred percent no") and Karen Giorno. Four people say Johnson told them about the kiss immediately afterward, reports Ronan Farrow of the New Yorker, but he adds that the claim may nevertheless be tough to verify. The lawsuit includes notes from a therapist saying the incident gave Johnson nightmares. Farrow says the "most legally significant aspect" of the lawsuit may be that Johnson is now the sixth campaign or White House employee to defy a nondisclosure agreement. Trump is fond of NDAs, and the lawsuit could affect his use of them. (The infamous tape in which Trump boasts of taking liberties with women came out about two months after this alleged incident.)

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