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Updated: 7:22 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016 | Posted: 3:52 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17, 2016

Melania Trump sits for first interviews since husband accused of sexual misconduct

By Theresa Seiger

Cox Media Group National Content Desk

For the first time since allegations of sexual misconduct against Donald Trump gained steam, the Republican presidential nominee's wife addressed the controversy this week in sit-down interviews with at least two networks.

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The interviews are MelaniaTrump's first moments in the public eye since the accusations over the last 10 days that have sent her husband's White House bid reeling.

Melania Trump has never filled the role of the traditional political spouse, only making rare appearances on the campaign trail. Her speech at July's national convention was initially praised until it was discovered that passages of it were lifted from Michelle Obama's 2008 convention address.

CNN Interview

MelaniaTrump on Monday dismissed her husband's sexually aggressive language as "boy talk," insisting his remarks do not reflect "the man I know."

"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," she told CNN.

She suggested that Trump may not have known his microphone was on, calling it "kind of a boy talk" that "Access Hollywood" host Billy Bush was encouraging.

Fox News Interview

A second interview, with Fox News Ainsley Earhardt, partially aired on "The Five" at 5 p.m. ET Monday. The full interview, which also was taped, was scheduled to air on Tuesday's edition of "Fox & Friends."

In the Fox interview, Mrs. Trump said it is fair game for her husband to appear with women who have 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.

"They're asking for it. They started. They started from the beginning of the campaign putting my picture from modeling days," she said in excerpts released by Fox News ahead of the interview's broadcast. "That was my modeling days and I'm proud what I did. I worked very hard."

Melania Trump has said little publicly since a 2005 "Access Hollywood" video that captured her husband ogling a woman and talking about using his celebrity status to touch women without their consent went public.

Speaking with Earhardt, Melania Trump said her husband apologized for his "offensive" and "inappropriate" language and that the couple is moving past the incident.

"This is not the man that I know," she told Earhardt, echoing a statement released by the Trump campaign one day "Access Hollywood" footage was published online by The Washington Post. "For a successful businessman, entrepreneur, entertainer to (achieve) so much in his life -- being in so many shows, so many tapes -- it's very hard to run for public office. And he did it anyway. He said, 'I want to help American people. I want to keep America safe.'"

Donald Trump initially brushed off the remarks, characterizing them as little more than "locker room banter." He denied touching women without their consent at a presidential debate on Oct. 9.

"I've said things that, frankly, you hear these things I said. And I was embarrassed by it," he said. "But I have tremendous respect for women."

More than a dozen women have since come forward with claims that range from reports of Donald Trump walking in on teen beauty pageant contestants as they changed clothes to accusations that the GOP presidential hopeful touched them without their consent.

Among those is People magazine writer Natasha Stoynoff, who claimed in an article Wednesday that Donald Trump pushed her against a wall and forcefully kissed her as she was working on a story celebrating the Trumps' first wedding anniversary in 2005.

"We walked into that room alone, and Trump shut the door behind us," she wrote. "I turned around, and within seconds, he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat."

Melania Trump slammed Stoynoff and demanded People retract its story and apologize in a letter from her lawyer posted on Twitter last week.

"Mrs. Trump did not encounter Ms. Stoynoff on the street, nor have any conversation with her. The two are not friends and were never friends or even friendly," the letter said. "At the time in question, Mrs. Trump would not even have recognized Ms. Stoynoff if they had encountered one another on the street."

Donald Trump has denied the allegations and promised to reveal information that shows they're false "at an appropriate time."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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