Trump has bragged in the press about going backstage before a show while everyone is getting dressed. Now, some of the contestants are describing being surprised by Trump entering the dressing room while they were changing.
Buzzfeed reports that at least four 1997 Miss Teen USA contestants said that the Republican nominee walked into the dressing room while contestants — some of them as young as 15 — were changing.
Some spoke on condition of anonymity and one agreed to be identified. “I remember putting on my dress really quick because I was like, ‘oh my god, there’s a man in here,” according to Mariah Billado, a former Miss Vermont Teen.
Ms. Billado recalled that Trump said something to the effect of “Don’t worry, ladies, I’ve seen it all before.” Her account was confirmed by three other contestants who remain anonymous. Two of them said that girls rushed to cover their bodies, and one called the event “shocking” and “creepy.” One woman said that she happened to be clothed and introduced herself to Trump.
BuzzFeed reports that eleven of the contestants in the same year who agreed to be interviewed said that they did not recall Trump entering the dressing room, with some saying that they did not believe that he could have been there.
Discussion of the issue appeared in a private Facebook group among the women after it was reported that an adult contestant had claimed that Trump had walked into the dressing room while contestants were “naked.”
It also followed as recordings emerged of Trump bragging about walking “backstage” before the shows. In one recording from the Howard Stern Show where Trump told Stern:
“I’ll tell you the funniest is that I’ll go backstage before a show and everyone’s getting dressed … No men are anywhere, and I’m allowed to go in, because I’m the owner of the pageant and therefore I’m inspecting it … ‘Is everyone OK?’ You know, they’re standing there with no clothes. ‘Is everybody OK?’ And you see these incredible looking women, and so I sort of get away with things like that.”
Trump owned the Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA pageants from 1996 until last year. The 1997 pageant was brought up in the first presidential debate when Hillary Clinton mentioned the winner of the Miss Universe title, Alicia Machado, who has come forward with her account of how Trump treated her when he claimed that she had gained weight after she won the contest.
The Miss Teen USA contestants did not say that Trump made any sexually explicit comments when he allegedly walked in.