“I’ll say it with great respect. Number one, she’s not my type. Number two, it never happened. It never happened, okay?”
That was Donald Trump, speaking yesterday with reporters from The Hill. The president was addressing, in part, the latest allegation of sexual assault to be brought against him, this time from the advice columnist and author E. Jean Carroll: In the mid-1990s, Carroll alleged in a recent essay, Trump, cornering her in a dressing room of the department store Bergdorf Goodman, raped her.
The Hill prefaced the headline of its published interview with an all-caps “EXCLUSIVE,” which is technically true but not fully: Trump, after all, has deployed the logic of “She’s not my type” many times before, in attempting to defend himself from charges of sexual misconduct. He used a similar dismissal as a presidential candidate in October 2016, after the former People magazine journalist Natasha Stoynoff accused him of attacking her—“He was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat,” she said—during an interview she had conducted with him at Mar-a-Lago, in 2005:
Take a look. You take a look. Look at her. Look at her words. You tell me what you think. I don’t think so.
Trump used the defense as well in response to Jessica Leeds, who accused him of groping her while the two were seated next to each other on an airplane in the early 1980s. (“He was like an octopus … His hands were everywhere,” Leeds described the alleged incident to The New York Times.) Here is Trump, at a 2016 campaign rally, responding to Leeds’s allegation:
Believe me, she would not be my first choice, that I can tell you. You don’t know. That would not be my first choice.
The crowd, delighted at this, cheered.