Melania Trump has dismissed her husband’s sexually aggressive language as “boy talk”, insisting his remarks do not reflect “the man I know” and saying she does not believe he has assaulted any women.
In a series of interviews, the wife of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said she had accepted her husband’s apology and the couple was “moving on”.
The comments come more than a week after the release of a 2005 video in which Mr Trump brags about kissing women without their permission and grabbing their genitals.
“I said to my husband that, you know, the language is inappropriate. It’s not acceptable. And I was surprised, because that is not the man that I know,” Mrs Trump said in an interview with CNN.
She suggested that Mr Trump may not have known his microphone was on, calling it “kind of a boy talk” that Access Hollywood host Billy Bush was encouraging.
And she suggested that the women who have claimed in recent days that Mr Trump made unwanted advances were attention-seekers who were making “damaging and unfair” accusations.
“I believe my husband,” she said in the interview, shown on Monday night. “My husband didn’t do anything.”
Mrs Trump also said it was fair game for her husband to appear with women who had accused former president Bill Clinton of sexual assault, claiming the Democrats fired the first volley into the increasingly ugly war about the couples’ private lives.
She said: “They’re asking for it. They started. They started from the beginning of the campaign putting my picture from modelling days. That was my modelling days and I’m proud what I did. I worked very hard.”
Mrs Trump’s image was used in a negative advert campaign during the Republican primary campaign, but there is no evidence that the Clintons were involved. At the time, Donald Trump accused former rival Ted Cruz of being involved, and tweeted an unflattering image of the Texas senator’s wife. Mr Cruz also denied involvement with the ad.
The interviews are Mrs Trump’s first moments in the public eye since the accusations that have sent her husband’s White House bid reeling.
Mrs Trump, whose husband frequently uses social media to attack opponents, also suggested that, as first lady, she could be interested in leading an effort to combat bullying and negativity on social media.
She told CNN she was worried about its impact on children, including her ten-year-old son, Barron.