Trump’s Accusers – The New York Occasions
They call themselves the “Sisters of the Strange Sisterhood”. They have a playlist with “I’m Every Woman” and “Hit the Road, Jack” and they never all met in person.
But they are inextricably linked: from a man who was formerly president, a man who everyone has accused of sexual misconduct, a man who is involved in legal disputes with three of them and whose successors they had gathered to take the oath of office in this week.
“I’m dizzy. I’m a combination of deafness and dizziness, “said Natasha Stoynoff, a journalist who gathered digitally on Wednesday along with six other women accused of sexual assault and wrongdoing by Donald J. Trump to mark President Biden’s inauguration and Vice President to celebrate Kamala Harris. She was wearing a t-shirt that said IMPEACHED.
It was Mrs. Stoynoff who made this group. The women had all read someone else’s stories, reported in different outlets, and some of them had met. But it wasn’t until 2019, three years after Ms. Stoynoff wrote her story for People, that she met E. Jean Carroll – with the assistance of George Conway, lawyer and husband of Kellyanne Conway, Mr. Trump’s senior counselor.
“I sent him an email to thank him for standing up for us,” said Ms. Stoynoff, 56, of Mr. Conway. “And then, two days later, he met E. Jean at a party.” Ms. Carroll, a journalist and advice columnist, accused Mr. Trump of raping her in a Bergdorf Goodman locker room in the mid-1990s, which he denied and for which she is suing him for defamation. Mr Trump has denied each of the women’s allegations.
Mr. Conway introduced the two women. Soon they were in contact with others: Alva Johnson, a former Trump campaign employee; Kristin Anderson, a photographer; Rachel Crooks, who recently ran for the Ohio State Legislature; Jill Harth, a makeup artist; and Samantha Holvey, a former Miss USA contestant. They communicated via SMS, email and – since the pandemic – via Zoom.
The women recently gathered to “welcome” the newest member to their strange club: Amy Dorris, a former model featured in an article in The Guardian in September. She asked the other women on the call, “Is it just me, or have any of you ever received death threats?”
They talked about Zoom for hours on election night. Karena Virginia, a yoga teacher and life coach who became the tenth woman to blame Mr. Trump after the infamous Access Hollywood tape leaked during the 2016 presidential campaign, urged everyone to bring a candle, matches and an “object from nature.” – which they would use for a blessing.
And they gathered emotionally at Zoom on Wednesday, the day of the inauguration, as they closed part of a chapter that neither of them wanted to attend. They burned sage.
“We’ve merged in weird ways,” said Ms. Carroll, 77, who wore a pearl necklace to honor Kamala Harris. “So it’s a very strange tie.”
There were seven that day: Mrs. Stoynoff in Canada and Mrs. Carroll in New York; Ms. Johnson, who once did public relations and development for the Trump campaign – she sued Mr. Trump in 2019 for gender, racial and sexual harassment – of Georgia. (The two parties are currently in arbitration.)
There was Ms. Anderson, 50, the Los Angeles photographer, who said Mr. Trump attacked her in a New York nightclub in the early 1990s, and Ms. Crooks, 37, who repeatedly described her run. in the same elevator with Mr. Trump at the age of 22.
Frau Harth, a makeup artist, dialed in towards the end; She mourned her mother. Ms. Holvey, the former Miss USA candidate, who spoke up ahead of the 2016 election, noted that she “tried to warn the country about Mr. Trump” but that he was elected anyway.
They were a lively bunch – “cutting, brilliant women”, as Ms. Carroll described them, “who see the world very clearly”.
Recently, Ms. Carroll wrote profiles of each of the women and their encounters with the former president, feeling that their stories have been stripped of color to highlight facts. “They don’t like it when people fall on them and say, ‘You poor thing,'” Ms. Carroll said of the group’s members. “They are living women with beating hearts. You are weird! They are all characters. And everyone is mad. “
But on Wednesday they struck a healing, ritual note together.
“The culprit who was responsible for this country is finally gone,” Ms. Anderson said as part of a blessing, explaining that she doesn’t use the “T-word,” as she calls the former president, because “I don’t think so once that he deserves it. ”
Ms. Crooks had prepared a poem called “Bye-Don” that she read aloud.
“Dismissed from the world / As if they didn’t care / The weight of everything / Was hard to take at times.”
Ms. Johnson, 44, took out her former business card with the TRUMP campaign logo in bold on the front and scorched the edge with a lighter.
“With our blessing, may he never hold public office again,” she said, holding it up for the other women to see.
“May he be held accountable for every wrongdoing he has committed.” She added more flame. “This is for every woman who has ever been ignored.”
It wasn’t exactly a closure.
For one thing, Ms. Carroll doesn’t believe in the concept. “I understand that closing it can heal a pain and relieve a pain – but it’s not for me,” she said. “I want him to say he lied. That he was in this room near Bergdorf. “(You can actually get this day in court.)
But it was something.
“When Lady Gaga started singing the national anthem, I felt the pent-up feelings of four years leaving our bodies,” said Ms. Stoynoff. “This is part one of the closure and more parts are to come.”