In her upcoming book, "What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal," famous Elle advice columnist E. Jean Carroll accuses Donald Trump of forcefully raping her in the mid-1990s, an allegation she says she chose not to make public earlier because she did not want to deal with the potential blowback. In a statement to New York Magazine, which published the passage from the book containing the accusation, the White House dismissed her account as "a completely false and unrealistic story surfacing 25 years after allegedly taking place."
In the excerpt of the book— which includes multiple sexual assault allegations, including against former CBS CEO Les Moonves — Carroll says that in the mid-1990s, when she was 52, she ran into Trump in the luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman in midtown Manhattan. Recognizing her, Trump asked if she could help him pick out lingerie for another woman. When Trump asked her to model a lace bodysuit, she jokingly suggested that he should try it on instead, she says.
"As we head to the dressing rooms, I’m laughing aloud and saying in my mind: I’m gonna make him put this thing on over his pants!" she writes. Then, she says, things quickly turned from jovial to violent:
The moment the dressing-room door is closed, he lunges at me, pushes me against the wall, hitting my head quite badly, and puts his mouth against my lips. I am so shocked I shove him back and start laughing again. He seizes both my arms and pushes me up against the wall a second time, and, as I become aware of how large he is, he holds me against the wall with his shoulder and jams his hand under my coat dress and pulls down my tights.
I am astonished by what I’m about to write: I keep laughing. The next moment, still wearing correct business attire, shirt, tie, suit jacket, overcoat, he opens the overcoat, unzips his pants, and, forcing his fingers around my private area, thrusts his penis halfway — or completely, I’m not certain — inside me. It turns into a colossal struggle. I am wearing a pair of sturdy black patent-leather four-inch Barneys high heels, which puts my height around six-one, and I try to stomp his foot. I try to push him off with my one free hand — for some reason, I keep holding my purse with the other — and I finally get a knee up high enough to push him out and off and I turn, open the door, and run out of the dressing room.
The whole episode lasts no more than three minutes. I do not believe he ejaculates. I don’t remember if any person or attendant is now in the lingerie department. I don’t remember if I run for the elevator or if I take the slow ride down on the escalator. As soon as I land on the main floor, I run through the store and out the door — I don’t recall which door — and find myself outside on Fifth Avenue.
Carroll, now 75, says that while she did not tell police, she did tell two friends about the incident. One — whom she describes as "a journalist, magazine writer, correspondent on the TV morning shows, author of many books, etc." — "begged" her to go to the police, she says, while the second — also a journalist and New York anchorwoman — advised her to, "Tell no one. Forget it! He has 200 lawyers. He’ll bury you."
In explanation of why she hasn't come forward about the incident before, Carroll writes: "Receiving death threats, being driven from my home, being dismissed, being dragged through the mud, and 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. Also, I am a coward."
New York Magazine reports that it "has verified that Carroll did disclose the attack to these friends at the time, and has confirmed that Bergdorf Goodman kept no security footage that would prove or disprove Carroll’s story."
When the magazine reached out to Trump for comment, a senior White House official dismissed the allegations, saying in a statement, "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."
A representative for Moonves also responded to a request for comment, saying he "emphatically denies" Carroll's claim that he once tried to force himself on her in an elevator.
UPDATE: Trump responded to Carroll's allegations in a statement released to the White House Press Pool on Friday:
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 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.