Trump 'sexually assaulted me in department store in 1990s', claims celebrated columnist E Jean Carroll

White House says claim is 'completely false'

Andrew Buncombe
Friday 21 June 2019 15:01 BST
Donald Trump caught on tape talking about sexually assaulting women: "Grab 'em by the pussy"

A celebrated advice columnist has claimed Donald Trump sexually assaulted her in a New York department store two decades ago, the latest in a succession of women who said they were violated by the man who is now the president.

E Jean Carroll , the journalist and writer, 76, who has penned Elle’s “Ask E Jean” column since 1993, said Mr Trump assaulted her in a dressing room of New York’s Bergdorf Goodman department store.

“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,” she writes in an extract of a forthcoming memoir published by New York magazine

“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.”

The White House said the president rejected the accusations. “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,” the magazine quoted a senior White House official as saying.

Later on Friday, Mr Trump issued his own statement, saying: “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.”

However, after he issued this statement, many on social media pointed out Ms Carroll’s article included a photograph of the now president with his then wife, Ivana, along with the columnist and her then husband, John Johnson, at an NBC party.

In the extract from What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal, Ms Carroll claims Mr Trump approached in the department store and asked her help in selecting a gift. She says she responded by saying: “Hey, you’re that real-estate tycoon!”

She claims Mr Trump followed her to the dressing room, pushed himself against and unzipped his trousers, as he pushed his hands onto her genitals.

She writes: “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.”

She says she was able to get away by stamping on his feet with her “sturdy black patent-leather four-inch Barneys high heels”. “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,” she says.

Ms Carroll is not the first woman to accuse the president of sexual assault or misconduct. During the 2016 presidential campaign, at least 16 woman levelled allegations at him. These included groping, touching and other inappropriate actions.

Bernie Sanders says Trump should resign over Access Hollywood tapes

Mr Trump and his spokespeople denied the allegations. Earlier this year, Alva Johnson, a former White House employee, claimed the president grabbed her hand and kissed her without her consent ahead of a campaign rally in Tampa and filed a lawsuit. “I immediately felt violated because I wasn’t expecting it or wanting it. I can still see his lips coming straight for my face,” she said.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said at the time: “This never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible eye witness accounts.”

Perhaps the most infamous incident during the campaign came when the Washington Post published 2005 outakes of Mr Trump filming NBC’s Access Hollywood show. In it he told host Billy Bush that women would allow him to do whatever he wanted because he was a celebrity.

“I don’t even wait,” he said. “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the ****y. You can do anything.”

Amid widespread outcry, including from Republicans, Mr Trump subsequently issued a statement.

“This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago,” he said. “Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course – not even close. I apologise if anyone was offended.

Ms Carroll writes that she never reported the alleged incident to the police, though she did tell two friends. New York magazine said it contacted the people who confirmed she told them the details 20 years ago.

Ms Carroll concludes her account by asking herself why she had not come forward with the claim until now.

“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,” she writes. “Also, I am a coward.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in