“It was so scary,” Donald Trump reportedly said.
Buried in a leaked recording of another hotel and casino mogul who stands accused of being a sexual predator is a curious nugget about Trump and the Access Hollywood tape of him touting his own predatory ways.
Steve Wynn, the now-resigned Republican National Committee finance chairman, held a series of meetings this week to seek the support of his employees in Las Vegas in the aftermath of last week’s revelations in The Wall Street Journal of decades of sexual-abuse accusations against him.
In those meetings, several participants apparently recorded Wynn—and passed those tapes on to the Journal, too.
In one, the Journal reports, Wynn told his employees that Trump confided during a pre-inauguration dinner that he “almost died” after the “scary” leak of the infamous Access Hollywood tape in which he boasted about grabbing women by their genitals.
According to Wynn, Trump talked about how difficult he found the election campaign—saying he wouldn’t have done it if he’d known how hard it would be—and addressed the Access Hollywood tape that nearly brought down his campaign a month before Election Day.
Wynn recalled telling Trump: “It’s unbelievable how you pulled this off,” to which the then president-elect replied: “If I knew it was going to be this tough, I wouldn’t have done it.”
Talking about the Access Hollywood leak, Wynn recalled Trump saying: “It was so scary. When those tapes came out, I almost died.” Late year, reports surfaced that Trump had been telling friends that the tape was faked. (No, it was “very real,” the show said.)
Wynn, who is now facing his own accusations of sexual misconduct, told the employees that he was addressing: “I know the feeling.”
Wynn called the meetings with his staff to ask for support following allegations against him.
The claims include that he paid a $7.5 million settlement to a manicurist who is reported to have told other staff members that Wynn forced her to have sex with him, as well as other employees claimed he’s pressured them into sexual acts.
In his meetings, Wynn is reported to have said that he had supported them in tough times, including during the Great Recession, saying: “We were a family. It wasn’t every man for himself. And that family culture has made us great.”
Wynn reminded employees the company had “kept our insurance and our jobs so we could manage our families” because “that’s the way a family reacts to hard times,” adding: “I called this meeting because I wanted you to all remember that no matter what you may read or hear about me.”
Following the allegations made against him, Wynn stepped down from his role as RNC finance chairman. The Republican Governors Association returned $100,000 in donations from Wynn’s company and canceled a contract to hold its 2020 conference at Wynn Las Vegas. Wynn Resorts shares have lost as much as 17 percent in value in the past week.
The allegations have also jeopardized a multibillion-dollar casino project in Massachusetts, where gambling commissioners have expressed serious concern about Wynn’s conduct.
Elsewhere in the leaked recordings, Wynn said his company has “always trusted, respected, and honored women,” not just in recent times “because it’s fashionable or that’s the topic of the season,” and questioned how the company could have such a good reputation as an employer if allegations of sexual misconduct were correct.
That “could not exist if we had predators running around,” Wynn is reported to have said. “It would never be possible.”
A spokesperson for Wynn Resorts told the Journal: “Cherry-picking comments out of a 20-minute extemporaneous conversation doesn’t reflect the general tenor of the meeting,” adding that “in a week in which the company and Mr. Wynn have received significant media coverage, he wanted to reassure and show his appreciation to employees.”
Wynn has denied the allegations against him, saying in a written statement that the idea that he’d ever assaulted a woman was “preposterous”
He wrote: “We find ourselves in a world where people can make allegations, regardless of the truth, and a person is left with the choice of weathering insulting publicity or engaging in multi-year lawsuits. It is deplorable for anyone to find themselves in this situation.”