On New Year’s Day, 1996, future Trump campaign chair Steve Bannon was charged with three misdemeanor counts of domestic violence by the Santa Monica police. The charges were eventually dropped when his then-wife did not appear at the trial. On the day that she called the police to her house, however, she told them that at the beginning of their relationship, there had been “3-4 arguments that became physical,” according to the police report. They had gone to counseling, though, and she told police that there had “not been any physical abuse in their arguments for about the past four years”—until the violent altercation that day.
Bannon’s predecessor at the Trump campaign also faced criminal charges for violence against a woman. Corey Lewandowski was arrested in Florida on March 29, 2017, on misdemeanor battery charges. On March 8, Lewandowski had grabbed and pulled aside a reporter, Michelle Fields. Fields photographed and tweeted the bruises on her arm. Lewandowski denied that he touched Fields until contradicted by video evidence. The state attorney ultimately decided that there was not enough evidence to pursue criminal charges, and dropped the case.
President Trump himself has been the target of allegations of violence against the women in his life, most notably his first wife Ivana. During their 1990 divorce, Ivana swore in a deposition that Trump—in a rage about an unexpectedly painful scalp-reduction surgery performed by a surgeon she had recommended—had yanked a handful of her hair from her head and forced himself upon her sexually. The deposition further claimed that she spent the night locked in a bathroom weeping. The next morning, Trump asked her, “with menacing casualness, ‘Does it hurt?’” A copy of the deposition was obtained by a Trump biographer and quoted in a 1993 book. (The book would later be amended with a statement by Ivana, after the divorce settlement, acknowledging that in her deposition, “I referred to this as a ‘rape,’ but I do not want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense.”)