Donald Trump has been accused of sexual assault yet again. Writer E. Jean Carroll accused the president of forcing himself on her in a Bergdorf Goodman in New York City more than 20 years ago.
In an article written for The Cut, Carroll recalled being approached by Trump, 73, as she entered the store. At the time, she was hosting a daily TV show called Ask E. Jean on MSNBC, which she alleged the president recognized her from. Per her account, Trump asked Carroll to "advise" him as he shopped for "a present." She recalled him talking "about himself like he's Alexander the Great ready to loot Babylon" as they tried to decide the best gift for the woman Trump was shopping for.
Eventually, Carroll wrote, Trump suggested they browse the lingerie section. Once there, Trump spotted "a lacy see-through bodysuit of lilac gray on the counter" and ordered her, "Go try this on!" Trump allegedly grabbed her by the arm, and took her to the dressing rooms. Carroll didn't go into detail about what transpired inside the dressing room, but did describe Trump "unzipping his pants" amid an ensuing "struggle."
She wrote that she didn't report the incident to the police, but did tell two friends — one of whom "begged" her to go to the authorities.
"He raped you," the friend told Carroll after she shared her story. "He raped you. Go to the police! I'll go with you. We'll go together."
Carroll wrote in the article that both friends still remember being told the story. Additionally, she said that Bergdorf Goodman's cameras likely picked them up at the entrance of the store, where they met, and possibly inside the dressing room. She noted, however, that "even if it had been captured on tape, depending on the position of the camera, it would be very difficult to see the man unzipping his pants, because he was wearing a topcoat."
"The struggle might have read as 'sexy,'" Carroll wrote, adding, "The speculation is moot, anyway: The department store has confirmed that it no longer has tapes from that time."
Carroll appeared to imply that the alleged attack was planned, noting that the lingerie department was decidedly empty when she and Trump were in it. There were no attendants around, and no shoppers. What's more, she said a single "dressing-room door was open." Typically, she noted, the doors are "locked until a client wants to try something on."
As for why she waited so long to come forward, Carroll said that in addition to receiving death threats and being forced out of her home, among other things, she did not want to join the ranks of 15 other women who have accused Trump of sexual assault "only to see the man turn it around, deny, threaten, and attack them."
The White House addressed the allegation in a statement from a senior official, saying, "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," according to Intelligencer. Trump himself said in a statement released to the White House Press Pool that he had "never met this person." Despite this claim, Carroll included in her story a photo of herself and Trump together at an event.
"She is trying to sell a new book — that should indicate her motivation. It should be sold in the fiction section," Trump said of Carroll's allegation. "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."
Trump alleged in his statement that Bergdorf Goodman confirmed "they have no video footage of any such incident, because it never happened." However, Carroll noted in her piece the store simply no longer had video footage from that time period.