Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed on Thursday a recently resurfaced report that he groped a reporter at an event 20 years ago.
In 2000, an anonymous editorial in the Creston Valley Advance accused Trudeau of "groping" and "inappropriately handling" a young female reporter at a British Columbia fundraiser for the Avalanche Foundation.
According to the report, Trudeau apologized to the young woman, telling her "If I had known you were reporting for a national paper, I never would have been so forward."
On Sunday, the Liberal Party leader acknowledged the allegations for the first time and denied doing anything untoward.
"I remember that day in Creston well. It was an Avalanche Foundation event to support avalanche safety. I had a good day that day. I don’t remember any negative interactions that day at all," he said at a Saskatchewan event. The Washington Post reported that he was "smiling and nodding" as he answered the question.
On Thursday, Trudeau extrapolated even further, admitting to reporters for the first time that he did apologize to the reporter.
At first the prime minister hedged, saying, "If I apologized later, it would be because I sensed that she was not entirely comfortable with the interaction that we had." When pressed further about whether he actually did apologize, Trudeau admitted, "I apologized in the moment."
"I’ve been reflecting very carefully on what I remember from that incident almost 20 years ago," he said. "I do not feel that I acted inappropriately in any way. But I respect the fact that someone else might have experienced that differently."