Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Lynden, Washington, U.S., May 7, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart(reuters_tickers)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A woman at the centre of a New York Times piece detailing Republican Donald Trump's history with women took issue with the story on Monday, saying she never had a negative experience with the billionaire and does not believe he ever mistreated women.
Rowanne Brewer Lane, a former model who dated Trump for several months starting in the late 1990, said her words were mischaracterised in the Times article, which used dozens of interviews to show what it said was a pattern of unsettling personal behaviour by the presidential candidate with women.
The Times story said Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for the Nov. 8 election, asked Lane to change into a bikini shortly after meeting her at a pool party at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. According to the article, he then introduced her to the crowd outside, saying, "That is a stunning Trump girl, isn't it?"
On Monday, Lane told the same story in a series of television interviews but said she had been flattered by his comment.
"They spun it to where it appeared negative," Lane said on Fox News. "I did not have a negative experience with Donald Trump."
Lane said that during the time she and Trump were dating, he "never made me feel like I was being demeaned in any way."
She also said she supports Trump's presidential run.
The New York Times responded to Lane's accusations by saying she was quoted "fairly, accurately and at length."
"The story provides context for the reader including that the swimsuit scene was the 'start of a whirlwind romance' between Ms. Brewer Lane and Mr. Trump," Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha said in a statement.
Trump has deflected criticism about his attitude toward women throughout his campaign. On Monday, he called the New York Times "so dishonest."
"Their hit piece cover story on me yesterday was just blown up by Rowanne Brewer, who said it was a lie!" Trump posted on Twitter.
Times reporters Michael Barbaro and Megan Twohey defended their story in several television interviews on Monday, saying it showed how Trump behaved privately with women and revealed common themes including unwelcome advances, aggression and commentary on their appearance.
"People can evaluate the story ... on its own merits," Barbaro said on CBS "This Morning."
(Reporting by Megan Cassella and Susan Heavey; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Toni Reinhold)