On Monday evening, E. Jean Carroll, an Elle magazine advice columnist who has accused President Donald Trump of rape in her new book, started talking about the “sexy” connotation of rape and rape fantasies on-air during a CNN interview with “360” host Anderson Cooper, prompting a clearly uncomfortable Cooper to quickly throw to commercial.
“You don’t feel like a victim?” asked Cooper. Carroll has been reluctant in interviews to claim that she was “raped,” though what she detailed in her book of the alleged incident is definitionally rape.
“I wasn’t thrown on the ground and ravished,” the accuser said. “Which, the word rape has so many sexual connotations,” she claimed. “This was not — this was not sexual. It just, it hurt —.”
“Well, I think most people think of rape as — I mean, it is a violent assault,” the CNN host interjected.
Carroll countered: “I think most people think of rape as being sexy.”
“Mhmm,” Cooper uttered.
“Think of the fantasies,” the accuser suggested.
“Mhmm,” Cooper again responded.
“We’re gonna take short, quick break,” the CNN host stumbled. “If you stick around, we’ll talk to you on the other side.”
“You’re fascinating to talk to,” Carroll oddly chimed in.
Cooper lets out a most-uncomfortable laugh before the camera cuts to commercial.
In her new book, “What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal,” Carroll claims Trump raped her in the mid-1990s, when she was 52 years old, in a fitting room at a New York City Bergdorf Goodman’s department store. According to Carroll, Trump allegedly recognized her and asked her to help him pick out lingerie for another woman. The accuser says she got into the dressing room with Trump because she was going to make him try on the sexy bodysuit as a joke, but when he closed the door, he allegedly vaginally penetrated her against her will during a struggle she says lasted some three minutes.
On Friday, speaking to MSNBC, Carroll claimed she would not press charges against Trump because it would be “disrespectful” to immigrant women who are raped “around the clock.”
“I would find it disrespectful to the women who are down on the border who are being raped around the clock down there without any protection,” Carroll told MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell.
However, on Monday morning, the accuser told CNN’s “New Day” that she will not be pressing charges because she’s been informed that the statute of limitations on the case has run out.
Trump has vehemently denied the accusation. “I’ve never met this person in my life,” Trump said of Carroll in the statement released on Friday. “She is trying to sell a new book — that should indicate her motivation. It should be sold in the fiction section. … False accusations diminish the severity of real assault. All should condemn false accusations and any actual assault in the strongest possible terms.”
The president has also claimed that Carroll is not his “type” and publicly thanked Bergdorf Goodman for “confirming they have no video footage of any such incident.”