In a first-person account published Friday in New York magazine, writer E. Jean Carroll said she was raped by Donald Trump in the 1990s.
Trump denied the allegation in a statement from the White House late Friday.
Carroll, a longtime columnist for Elle magazine and the author of five books, details an encounter with Trump in the mid-1990s in the upscale Bergdorf Goodman department store in midtown Manhattan. Carroll was in her early 50s at the time. Trump and Carroll recognized each other in the store, and Trump told her he needed to buy a gift “for a girl,” according to Carroll’s account.
The alleged assault occurred in the dressing room after Trump suggested Carroll try on a lace bodysuit. Carroll says Trump pushed her against the wall, and “forcing his fingers around my private area, thrusts his penis halfway — or completely, I’m not certain — inside me.” After three minutes, she was able to break free and run from the dressing room.
Carroll joins at least 16 other women who have made sexual assault allegations against the president. In December 2017, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said all those women were lying.
In a statement to New York, a White House official said, “This is a completely false and unrealistic story surfacing 25 years after allegedly taking place and was created simply to make the President look bad.”
Later the White House issued a statement in Trump’s name:
“Regarding the ‘story’ by E. Jean Carroll, claiming she once encountered me at Bergdorf Goodman 23 years ago. I’ve never met this person in my life. She is trying to sell a new book—that should indicate her motivation. It should be sold in the fiction section.
“Shame on those who make up false stories of assault to try to get publicity for themselves, or sell a book, or carry out a political agenda—like Julie Swetnick who falsely accused Justice Brett Kavanaugh. It’s just as bad for people to believe it, particularly when there is zero evidence. Worse still for a dying publication to try to prop itself up by peddling fake news—it’s an epidemic.
“Ms. Carroll & New York Magazine: 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 footage of any such incident, because it never happened.
“False accusations diminish the severity of real assault. All should condemn false accusations and any actual assault in the strongest possible terms.
“If anyone has information that the Democratic Party is working with Ms. Carroll or New York Magazine, please notify us as soon as possible. The world should know what’s really going on. It is a disgrace and people should pay dearly for such false accusations.”
The excerpt from Carroll’s forthcoming book, “What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal,” was accompanied on the magazine’s website with a picture of Trump, Carroll and their then spouses at a party in 1987.
Trump’s behavior in Carroll’s account recalls how the president said he behaves around “beautiful women” in the now infamous “Access Hollywood” tape released in 2016.
“You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them,” Trump told Billy Bush. “It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
The date of the assault is unclear. Carroll says it occurred in either late 1995 or early 1996. In the excerpt, Carroll, now 75, does not explain why she decided to come forward. She says she fears receiving death threats or being “dragged through the mud.”
She writes, “joining the 15 women who’ve come forward with credible stories about how the man grabbed, badgered, belittled, mauled, molested, and assaulted them, only to see the man turn it around, deny, threaten, and attack them, never sounded like much fun.”
Carroll writes that she told two friends of the assault shortly after it happened. One of them encouraged her to go to the police, and the other advised against it. “‘Tell no one. Forget it! He has 200 lawyers. He’ll bury you.’”
Both friends remember the conversations decades later, and confirmed Carroll’s account to New York.
Carroll’s book will be released July 2. The excerpt alleges assaults by five other men, including Les Moonves, the former CEO of CBS.
Moonves resigned in disgrace after being accused of sexual assault in September 2018. Carroll claims he kissed and groped her in a hotel elevator after she finished interviewing him for an article.
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