This horrific rape accusation against Donald Trump deserves to be considered carefully and seriously – Washington Examiner

Advice columnist E. Jean Carroll is coming out with a new book, and in a bombshell excerpt appearing in New York magazine, she tells a horrific story that President Trump raped her in a department store in 1995 or 1996.

In the piece, she says that though she never went to the police, she told two friends about the incident at the time, and that they confirmed that to the magazine. The White House is saying that the story is false.

I have previously argued that while we shouldn’t reflexively believe all accusers, I do believe that sexual assault accusers deserve to be taken seriously. Ideally, the credibility of the accusations should be viewed independently of any partisan blinders. We should all consider this story carefully and avoid jumping to quick conclusions one way or another.

In the story, part of a book describing encounters with “hideous” men in her life, Carroll writes that Trump approached her in the upscale Fifth Avenue store Bergdorf Goodman, having recognized her from her advice show. After exchanging introductions, she agreed to help him search for a gift for a girl, which eventually led them to the lingerie section. According to the account, he coaxed her into the dressing room with an article of lingerie. That’s when the story becomes especially difficult to read:

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 White House issued the following response to the account: “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.”

In the early going, skeptics of the story are questioning the timing, and dismissing it as a clear effort to boost book sales. Why didn’t she say anything at the time? Or why didn’t she raise the issue during the 2016 campaign, when it could have done more damage?

Carroll writes that she didn’t report the incident to the police at the time. She told two close friends, she said, and while one of them urged her to report it, the other said, “Tell no one. Forget it! He has 200 lawyers. He’ll bury you.” According to the article, “Two decades later, both still remember the incident clearly and confirmed their accounts to New York.”

As for why she didn’t come forward earlier, she wrote, “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.”

It is worth remembering, in light of Carroll’s story, Trump’s statements in the notorious “Access Hollywood” tape: “You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. 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 … Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”

We should hear more from Carroll in the coming days and weeks, and the friends who confirm her account should come forward as well. If there are a lot of inconsistencies, this would be another case of major media malpractice. But if more reporting bolsters her account, this should be significant concern to Republicans, and all Americans.

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