Trump Emphatically Denies Sexual Assault Allegation by E. Jean Carroll
President Trump again denied that he had sexually assaulted the advice columnist E. Jean Carroll in the mid-1990s, saying multiple times in extended comments to reporters on Saturday that he had “no idea” who Ms. Carroll was.
In a forthcoming book, Ms. Carroll alleges that Mr. Trump raped her in 1995 or 1996 in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room. An excerpt from the book including the accusation was published on New York magazine’s website on Friday.
Mr. Trump issued a statement on Friday denying the accusation and saying he had never met Ms. Carroll. A photograph accompanying the excerpt showed Mr. Trump and Ms. Carroll together at a 1987 party, along with Ivana Trump, who was then his wife, and John Johnson, a television news anchor who was then Ms. Carroll’s husband.
As Mr. Trump left the White House for Camp David on Saturday, he was asked about Ms. Carroll’s account and spoke for more than two minutes, saying multiple times that he did not know her.
When a reporter asked Mr. Trump about the photograph, he said “give me a break,” noting he was standing with his coat on and had his back to the camera.
“It’s a total false accusation,” he said. “I don’t know anything about her. She’s made this charge against others, and you know, people have to be careful, because they are playing with very dangerous territory.”
Referring to Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, who was confirmed to the Supreme Court amid sexual assault allegations, Mr. Trump said, “When you look at what happened to Justice Kavanaugh, and you look at what’s happening to others, you can’t do that for the sake of publicity.”
He added: “It’s a totally false accusation. I have absolutely no idea who she is. There’s some picture where we’re shaking hands. It looks like at some kind of event. I have my coat on. I have my wife standing next to me.”
Ms. Carroll said on Saturday that she had not been watching the television coverage or the president’s response to her allegations but that friends had informed her about Mr. Trump’s comments.
“This is what happens to women who come forward,” she said.
Ms. Carroll, 76, is the author of “Ask E. Jean” in Elle magazine. Her forthcoming book, “What Do We Need Men For?,” is expected to be published by St. Martin’s Press next month. In it, she describes being harassed and mistreated by a series of men, in addition to the accusation against Mr. Trump.
Ms. Carroll wrote that Mr. Trump asked her to try on lingerie that he was considering buying as a gift.
Once they entered the dressing room, according to Ms. Carroll, Mr. Trump pushed her against the wall, pushed his mouth against her lips, then pulled down her tights, unzipped his pants and forced his “fingers around my private area, thrusts his penis halfway — or completely, I’m not certain — inside me.”
Ms. Carroll said she did not come forward earlier because she feared death threats and “being dragged through the mud, being dismissed.”
Mr. Trump has faced allegations of groping and kissing women without their permission and has previously been accused of sexual misconduct. He was heard boasting of sexual assault in a tape from “Access Hollywood,” and Ms. Carroll’s account will most likely reignite the discussion over those previous allegations and Mr. Trump’s treatment of women.
In an interview with a reporter during a campaign event in South Carolina on Saturday, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York, who is running for president, said he would investigate Ms. Carroll’s account if she files a formal complaint with the police. But experts say the statute of limitations may prevent a case from going forward.