On Sunday, former Miss Universe contestant Ninni Laaksonen reiterated her allegation against President Donald Trump, claiming that he sexually assaulted her in 2006. Laaksonen took her story public in 2016 and revived it on Sunday morning in a blunt post on Twitter. The account brought a fresh wave of backlash against Laaksonen, and against the president.
Laaksonen won the Miss Finland title in 2006, and later competed in the Miss Universe contest — an event with which Trump was often entangled. She has previously told her story, saying that Trump put his hands on her without her consent in 2006, when both were together for an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman. On Sunday, she shared the allegation again, along with a picture of herself and Trump from that day. She wrote: "He stood right next to me and suddenly he squeezed my butt. He really grabbed my butt."
Trump groped me before an appearance at The Late Show with David Letterman in 2006. We were photographed outside the building. He stood right next to me and suddenly he squeezed my butt. He really grabbed my butt. pic.twitter.com/wwLT24UVaU— Ninni Laaksonen (@ninni_laaksonen) May 3, 2020
Laaksonen's tweet picked up several thousand likes and retweets throughout the day on Sunday, and even more replies. Other Twitter users alternated between commiserating with the model, questioning her and flat out disbelieving her.
Laaksonen is one of 25 women overall to accuse the president of sexual assault. She shared the same story with The Guardian back in 2016, adding: "I don't think anybody saw it but I flinched and thought: 'What is happening?'"
Laaksonen said that Trump's tendency to cross boundaries with models was well-known, and even gossiped about at pageants. She said that she was even told that she had attracted his attention because she looked similar to his wife, saying: "Somebody told me there that Trump liked me because I looked like Melania when she was younger. It left me disgusted."
Other women have accused Trump of sexual assault over the years as well, including models, adult film stars and even his first wife, Ivana Trump. The president and his campaign have denied ever accusation leveled against him. However, Trump famously seemed to confirm these stories himself in a 2005 audio recording where he told reality TV host Billy Bush lewd stories about himself.
"I moved on her, and I failed. I'll admit it. I did try and f— her. She was married," he can be heard saying. "I moved on her like a b—. But I couldn't get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she's now got the big phony tits and everything. She's totally changed her look."
"You know I'm automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it," he went on. "You can do anything. Grab 'em by the p—. You can do anything."