Published April 28, 2016
A new report is questioning the background of a woman brought on stage Monday and offered a "job" by Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, after past media appearances revealed seemingly contradictory stories.
Alicia Watkins, 38, gained attention after asking Trump a question at a Monday news conference in Washington. Identifying herself as a 9/11 survivor and Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, she asked about jobs -- after which Trump brought her to the podium, conducted a brief interview and passed her on to another member of staff before saying if they could work out the salary, “she probably has a job.”
The offer would be the latest amazing development in Watkins’ biography of surviving 9/11 before serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and then becoming homeless only to recover by being crowned Miss Massachusetts and launching her own media company – Troop Media.
Her status as a veteran and former Miss Massachusetts are not being questioned. However, a new Washington Post report is raising questions about alleged inconsistencies in other aspects of her biography.
The Post reports that she once claimed she was outside her office in New York when the World Trade Center was hit, citing that as her motivation to sign up with the Air Force.
But she also has told multiple outlets she was stationed at the Pentagon when the building was attacked on 9/11, the account the Post said was the accurate one. The Post also reported that Watkins actually enlisted in 1998 and was stationed at the Pentagon after that.
While she had also claimed in a previous interview to have served 16 years in the military, The Washington Post calculated it was closer to nine-and-a-half years.
There is little reported evidence of her media company which she claims to have set up. The website for the site goes to a dead link, and Watkins told The Post that it isn’t publishing content at this time and she is looking for freelance work. However, she was given a press pass at the Trump event.
In other media interviews, Watkins offered a series of details about her injuries. On an appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” she said, “I have traumatic brain injury, I have post-traumatic stress disorder, I have a spinal cord injury."
On a 2014 appearance with "Fox & Friends," she told the hosts she was on active duty when the Pentagon was hit, and had been serving in the military for six years at the point. She then said she was homeless before getting to Harvard and later becoming Miss Massachusetts.
However, the Washington Post reported Watkins was in fact accepted to Harvard Extension School, a far less rigorous division of the university, which makes courses available to anyone who signs up and pays tuition.