As President Donald Trump denies new allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman in the 1990s, his Republican defenders are accused of a holding a double-standard after rallying behind former President Bill Clinton accuser Juanita Broaddrick.
E. Jean Carroll, a former Saturday Night Live writer whose work has been published in publications such as Elle, Esquire and Playboy, became the 16th woman to come forward and make an allegation of sexual misconduct against the thrice-married real estate mogul.
She claimed in an excerpt of her new book published by New York magazine last week that she was assaulted by Trump in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in midtown Manhattan in either the fall of 1995 or the spring of 1996.
The alleged incident occurred during the time Trump was married to Marla Maples.
Carroll, 75, claims that her encounter with Trump started as a friendly one, with him telling her that he was there to buy a gift for a “girl.” She recalled Trump as being “charming” at first. But things got a bit weird when Trump asked her to help him pick out something to buy.
“When we walked into the lingerie department, there was nobody there, which is strange. It was in the evening. On the counter were three really fancy boxes and a see-through bodysuit. He walked right to the bodysuit, snatched it up and said, ‘Go put this on.’ That struck me as funny because here I am at 52, I am not going to be [putting on],” she said in an interview with CNN.
Carroll alleged that she walked back with Trump to the fitting room, thinking that Trump would try on the lingerie. But Carroll claims that when they reached the dressing room, Trump shoved her against a wall, pulled down her tights, and began “forcing his fingers around my private area.”
She described in detail Trump raping her as she struggled to break free with no attendant around.
“The minute he closed that door, I was banged up against the wall,” she explained. “Hit my head really hard. Boom.”
“It shocked me. For a moment I was stunned. And then he tried to kiss me,” she continued. “My reaction was to laugh, to knock off the erotic whatever he had going on. This man when you laugh at him. No, he just went at it.’”
Carroll said that the encounter didn’t last very long, no longer than three minutes.
“It was over very quickly,” she said. “It was against my will, 100 percent.”
She told CNN that she has trouble calling the incident “rape” because she sees it as more of a “fight” in which she was able to run away from.
“I don’t want to be seen as a victim because it went fast,” she contended. “It was a very, very brief episode of my life. I do not face sexual violence every single day like many women around the world. So yes, I am very careful with that [rape] word.”
In a statement, Trump denied the incident and said that he never met “this person” in his life.
“She is trying to sell a new book,” Trump argued. “That should indicate her motivation. It should be sold in the fiction section. No pictures? No surveillance? No video? No reports? No sales attendants around?? I would like to thank Bergdorf Goodman for confirming they have no video of any such incident because it never happened.”
Although Trump claims to have never met Carroll, New York magazine published a photograph showing Trump, Carroll and their respective spouses talking at a party in 1987.
In her interview with CNN, Carroll detests Trump’s claim that she made up the story to sell her book.
“I never mentioned Donald Trump in the description of the book,” she said. “On Amazon, you don’t see it. It was not about selling a book about Donald Trump.”
“With all of the 16 women that have come forward, it is the same. He denies it. He turns it around. He attacks. He threatens,” Carroll continued. “Then everybody forgets it and the next woman comes along. I am sick of it. Think how many women have come forward. Nothing happens. The only thing we can do is sit with you and tell our story so that we empower other women to come forward and tell their stories because we have to change this culture of sexual violence.”
Although Carroll doesn’t want to be seen as a victim of rape, CNN host Alisyn Camerota declared that the encounter with Trump as described in Carroll’s book qualifies as rape.
“I am saying legally it was rape. It was unambiguous,” Camerota reasoned. “And that actually goes further than 15 women who came forward during the campaign. They described situations very similar to what you experienced: him getting them into a room, him pinning them against a wall, him forcing a kiss on them. But yours goes further in terms of being legally rape.”
Camerota also pointed out that Trump’s behavior as outlined by Carroll is consistent with what Trump described on the infamous “Access Hollywood” audio recording from 2005, where he brags about taking sexual advantage of women.
“You know, I am automatically attracted to beautiful [women.] I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait,” Trump said in the recording. “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p****. You can do anything.”
On social media, popular conservatives chastised Carroll, claiming her accusation was made up.
“Has E. Jean Carroll set up a GoFundMe account? Or is she counting on cashing in with sales of her new book?” asked conservative author Dinesh D’Souza in a tweet. “I guess we can expect her to make the media rounds and then vanish like [Christine] Blasey Ford. This is the predictable profile of the left-wing smear #FakeAccusation”
In another tweet, D’Souza also seemed to make fun of the way Carroll described the alleged incident.
“What normal person says about being raped: ‘It was only three minutes’ and it would be ‘disrespectful’ to sue because other women are routinely raped at the border?” D’Souza asked. “Does ANYONE consider this credible testimony? #JeanCarroll”
John Cardillo, the host of America Talks Live on Newsmax TV, pointed out that Carroll was regularly seen in the media in the mid-1990s but “made no mention of being sexually assaulted.”
“You know why? Because she’s a reprehensible liar who thinks false allegations are OK if they damage Trump,” Cardillo claimed. “That’s all they’ve got.”
Although some conservatives might dismiss Carroll’s claims, New York Lawyer George Conway pointed out a hypocrisy in the fact that conservatives gave credence to accusations made by Juanita Broaddrick against Democrat President Bill Clinton.
“The new rape allegation against Trump is more credible,” Conway, who was on a short list of candidates considered by Trump to be U.S. solicitor general in 2017, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.
Broaddrick was among three other women who joined Trump in an October 2016 press conference. The four women claimed to have been subjected to Clinton’s sexual advances.
Broaddrick made an accusation of criminal sexual assault, saying that Clinton “raped” her in 1978.
“Republicans and conservatives rallied to her cause then, and they did so once again in 2016,” Conway wrote. “Democrats and liberals, not so much — although in the wake of the #MeToo movement, some have since acknowledged the credibility of Broaddrick’s claim.”
“But today there’s another woman with a similar allegation, against a different powerful man,” Conway continued. “Her name is E. Jean Carroll. She, too, says that she was raped — by Donald Trump.”
Conway points out that Carroll’s claim “rests upon a significantly stronger foundation than Broaddrick’s.”
“For one thing, before she went public with her story, Broaddrick had repeatedly denied that Clinton had assaulted her, even under oath: In an affidavit she had submitted in Paula Jones’s sexual harassment case against Clinton, Broaddrick had sworn that the allegations ‘that Mr. Clinton had made unwelcome sexual advances toward me in the late seventies … are untrue,’” Conway relayed. “[T]he press had previously sought ‘corroboration of these tales’ but that she had ‘repeatedly denied the allegations.’”
“For another, Carroll’s account is supported by the sheer number of claims that have now surfaced against Trump - claims in which women have accused Trump of engaging in unwelcome or forcible sexual conduct or assault against them,” Conway continued. “The claims — all denied by the president — far outnumber the publicized sexual misconduct incidents that involved Clinton, which mostly concerned rumors of allegations of consensual affairs.”
Linking to Conway’s op-ed, Liberty University professor Karen Swallow Prior tweeted: “A pox on both your houses.”