During remarks at a Texas edition of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Trump appeared to attempt this Saturday to kiss swimmer Riley Gaines when welcoming the athlete on stage. Gaines seemed to noticeably push back on the ex-president.
Gaines was at the conference to discuss her complaints about transgender women competing in women’s sports. The interactions between Trump and Gaines on stage at the event were reported on by outlets including the Washington Examiner, which is a conservative publication and acknowledged the former president’s apparent attempt to basically creep on the younger woman. Gaines “was being introduced by Trump when the former president leaned in to kiss her on the cheek as a greeting,” that website said. “Video of the incident shows Gaines appearing to pull her head away from Trump’s before leaning back in slightly. Trump then appeared to say something to the young athlete, but it does not appear in the video as if they made contact.”
Other sources backed it up. “But as it looked like he was leaning in to kiss her on the cheek as a greeting, she appeared to flinch and move away,” a website associated with The Independent said about the incident, referring to Trump and Gaines. Trump, of course, has a long history of creeping on various women, although that’s not where it ends: he also remains accused of sexual harassment and assault, and with his public behavior he’s never offered particularly compelling evidence against what woman have stated about him. Footage of the brief interactions on stage between Trump and Gaines before the latter began her remarks also appears to show Gaines firmly gripping Trump’s arm as he moves in closer, as though to try and control his movements and potentially keep him from getting as close as he wanted — although it would obviously be difficult to tell Gaines’s precise motivation without an explicit confirmation. As reported, she also rather clearly moved the upper part of her body away from the ex-president before leaning back. Watch the unsettling clip below:
Trump calls swimmer Riley Gaines up on stage and tries to give her a kiss. She flinches and pulls away. pic.twitter.com/zKSZMAEF2Y
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) August 7, 2022
Image: Gage Skidmore/ Creative Commons