US businessman and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump kisses a little girl he called up from the audience during a campaign rally at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Picture: Tannen Maury

New York - As political stunts go, it should have been a triumph.

Under fire for his controversial opinions about women and alleged racism, US presidential nominee Donald Trump tried to kiss a young black girl at a rally on Tuesday.

But the staged photo went disastrously wrong when she pushed him away. The girl, whom Trump described as ‘beautiful’, was photographed wriggling from his grasp before he managed to finally plant his lips on her cheek at the event in Wisconsin.

It came as Melania Trump, 46, played down her husband’s comments about sexual assault as ‘boys’ talk’. She told CNN he was ‘egged on’ to say ‘dirty and bad stuff’ in the taped 2005 interview.

The ex-model said Trump could sometimes behave like a teenage boy but was somebody who ‘supports women’. She said the women who accused him of misconduct were liars – and claimed the allegations were part of a Democrat conspiracy.

In a separate interview Trump’s daughter Ivanka, 34, said she can ‘shrug off’ the claims against her 70-year-old father because she knows what he is really like.

An NBC poll put Republican Mr Trump 11 points behind Democrat Hillary Clinton. He has vehemently denied the claims by women who say he abused them.