The advice columnist who says President Trump sexually assaulted her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s says she is “very glad” she published her accusation, even as the president denied her story on Saturday and claimed he had “no idea who she is.”
E. Jean Carroll spoke to NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro on Weekend Edition. She reiterated that Trump assaulted her in the ’90s.
“It hurt. And it was against my will,” she said.
Trump on Saturday doubled down on his denial and claimed that women have been paid to accuse him of wrongdoing.
“Women were actually paid money to say bad things about me,” Trump told reporters outside the White House. “But here’s a case, it’s an absolute disgrace that she’s allowed to do that.”
Carroll first detailed the incident in a book excerpt published on Friday in New York magazine.
Carroll said the incident happened when the two met by chance at the upscale department store Bergdorf Goodman in New York City. She says he told her, “Hey, you’re that advice lady,” and she replied, “Hey, you’re that real estate mogul,” and then he asked for her help in choosing a present for “a girl.”
At first, Carroll told NPR, “I thought it was just charming, you know, he wants my advice on buying a present.”
Carroll said the encounter took a turn when she asked how old the girl was, and Trump asked Carroll how old she was.
“And of course I told him my actual age, which is 52. And he said ‘Oh, you’re so old,’ ” she recalled to NPR.
Then, Carroll claims, Trump asked her to try on a see-through bodysuit in the lingerie department. She said she joked that he should try it on instead.
“And that’s where I got into trouble, because we went into the dressing room and he closed the door and that was it,” she said.
She said “it was a very short incident” and that “to me it’s just disrespectful to say, to use the word rape, although it hurt and it was against my will.”
Carroll said that she called a friend after the incident but did not tell the police.
“I had adrenaline pouring through my body,” she said. “The idea that anyone, including me, could make a decision at that point about going to the police … that was almost a second assault on my brain.”
When Carroll published the excerpt from her book in New York magazine, the president responded, writing: “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.”
New York undercut the president’s claim about never meeting Carroll with a photograph depicting him talking to her at a party in New York.
Reporters asked Trump about the picture Saturday. He replied, “standing with my coat on in a line, give me a break.”
Trump compared himself to Brett Kavanaugh, who withstood assault allegations during his confirmation hearings to become a Supreme Court justice.
“When you look at what happened to Justice Kavanaugh, and you look at what’s happening to others, you can’t do that for the sake of publicity,” Trump said Saturday.
More than a dozen women accused Trump of sexual wrongdoing before he took office. Carroll said she did not come forward with her story before the 2016 elections because “there were so many women coming forward. … I didn’t think it was my duty.”
Carroll’s book, due out in July, details attacks by people on what she calls the “Most Hideous Men of My Life List.” The list includes the former CEO of CBS, Les Moonves. He was ousted last year amid similar allegations. Moonves denied Carroll’s claims to New York.
Carroll told NPR she decided to publish these accusations in a book because she is a writer.
“My natural mode is to take pen to paper and write about whatever it is I want to write about, and my natural mode is to put it in a book,” she said.
She said she changed her mind about coming forward because over the past two years, many readers sent in letters about their own experience with sexual assault.
“I just felt like I was not being a real, you know, I was holding something back,” she said. “And I just decided because I love my readers, I thought well, OK, I’m going to tell them, this is what happened to me.”