Woman ac­cuses Trump of rape, Amer­ica yawns — and story dis­ap­pears

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - BY JOSEPH CURL

A75-year-old woman came for­ward a few days ago to claim that Pres­i­dent Trump raped her in a depart­ment-store dress­ing room in the mid-1990s. Big news, right? Nope. Amer­ica yawned. And so, weirdly, did Amer­ica’s me­dia.

Al­though the hor­rific ac­cu­sa­tion from E. Jean Car­roll, a long­time ad­vice colum­nist for a women’s fash­ion mag­a­zine, came out June 21, not one of the main TV net­works — NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and Fox — talked about the ac­cu­sa­tion on their po­lit­i­cal talk shows. Back when Mr. Trump was run­ning for pres­i­dent, the net­works couldn’t get enough of the sala­cious sex sto­ries that ap­peared about him ev­ery few weeks, in­clud­ing Brid­get Sullivan, the for­mer Miss New Hamp­shire who said he once hugged her “a lit­tle low” on her back.

So why the col­lec­tive me­dia si­lence when Ms. Car­roll made her alarm­ing ac­cu­sa­tion? No one knows for sure, but here are a few thoughts on why the story crashed and burned be­fore it ever got off the ground.

First, Ms. Car­roll is, in a word, odd. When CNN de­cided to in­ter­view her for its “New Day” morn­ing show (no doubt re­al­iz­ing by then that it was miss­ing an easy “bash Trump” story), she re­told the tale she first al­leged in New York mag­a­zine. Through­out the retelling of what she said was a some­what vi­o­lent rape, she laughed and smiled.

She said she met Mr. Trump at a Bergdorf Good­man store in New York about 23 years ago and that he rec­og­nized her as the Elle ad­vice colum­nist. Mr. Trump asked her to help him pick out some­thing for a “mys­tery” girl,

she said, adding that he shouted, “lin­gerie!” Mr. Trump, she said, found a “see-through body suit” and told her to go put it on. Ms. Car­roll, who said she was “spin­ning a com­edy scene in my head,” said maybe he should try it on.

Ms. Car­roll fol­lowed Mr. Trump into a dress­ing room and “the minute he closed that door I was banged up against a wall.” Then, “he just went at it,” she said: “It was against my will, 100%.”

“Legally, it was rape,” CNN host Alisyn Camerota said help­fully, be­fore re­play­ing a tape in which Mr. Trump said you can grab women “by the p----.” Asked about her re­ac­tion to that tape, Ms. Car­roll said, “I felt re­lief. And, I — that’s right. That’s right.”

Sec­ond, Ms. Car­roll said she’s “barely po­lit­i­cal.” But The Wash­ing­ton Post noted that Ms. Car­roll is a reg­is­tered Demo­crat who sup­ported Hil­lary Clin­ton in 2016.

“She do­nated $1,000 this cy­cle to Emily’s List, which sup­ports fe­male candidates who back abor­tion rights, and $500 to Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s re­elec­tion cam­paign in 2012, ac­cord­ing to cam­paign fi­nance records. On Twit­ter, she has posted sev­eral sharp re­marks about Trump and retweets of satir­i­cal and crit­i­cal ar­ti­cles about him,” the Post wrote.

In her CNN in­ter­view, she said, “I can’t be­lieve that he is in the White House, and it makes me sick.”

Third, the shock­ing ac­cu­sa­tion ap­peared just days be­fore Ms. Car­roll’s lat­est book — “What Do We Need Men For? A Mod­est Pro­posal” — hits book­stores. Mr. Trump pointed that out in his state­ment about the al­le­ga­tion, say­ing he’s “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,” Mr. Trump said. “There is zero ev­i­dence. 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.”

Of course, this has hap­pened to Mr. Trump be­fore, most no­tably with two books by au­thor Michael Wolff — “Fire and Fury” and “Siege: Trump un­der Fire” — both “in­sider” tales that were widely dis­cred­ited. Mr. Wolff wrote that Mr. Trump was hav­ing an af­fair with Nikki Ha­ley, then the U.S. am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions, prompt­ing a New York Times writer to say Mr. Wolff was spread­ing “ev­i­dence-free de­tail.”

Fourth, Ms. Car­roll said that while she still has the very dress she was wear­ing that fate­ful day, she won’t al­low the New York Po­lice Depart­ment to test it for DNA, a la Mon­ica Lewin­sky. “I do not know if the pres­i­dent ejac­u­lated. I have no idea,” Ms. Car­roll said. Well, a DNA test would de­ter­mine that.

And New York City Mayor Bill de Bla­sio, run­ning for the Demo­cratic nom­i­na­tion in 2020, said if she brought a crim­i­nal case, the city would pur­sue it. Again, she said no.

Last, there was this very odd ex­change when Ms. Car­roll ap­peared on “An­der­son Cooper 360.” Rape, Mr. Cooper said, is a vi­o­lent as­sault. Ms. Car­roll replied, “I think most peo­ple think of rape as be­ing sexy.”

“Let’s take a quick break,” Mr. Cooper said abruptly.

“They think of the fan­tasies,” Ms. Car­roll con­tin­ued.

“Hmm. We’re, er,” Mr. Cooper stam­mered, “gonna, uh, take a sh — quick break, we’re, if you can stick around we’ll talk more on the other side.”

“You’re fas­ci­nat­ing to talk to,” Ms. Car­roll said.

Mr. Cooper, who had just solemnly de­clared that Ms. Car­roll was vi­o­lently raped, laughed.

End of story. Joseph Curl cov­ered the White House and pol­i­tics for a decade for The Wash­ing­ton Times. He can be reached at [email protected] gmail.com and on Twit­ter @josephcurl.

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