Legendary advice columnist E. Jean Carroll accused Donald Trump of raping her in the dressing room of a New York City department store some 23 years ago, joining more than a dozen women who have previously come forward with allegations of Trump's sexual misconduct.
Carroll — who said that Trump attacked her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room, pulled down her tights, and "thrust his penis" in her — detailed the alleged incident in her upcoming book, What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal, an excerpt of which was published in the Cut on Friday. She also accused several other men of attacking her over the course of her life, including disgraced former CBS CEO Les Moonves.
The president and the White House have repeatedly denied previous allegations of Trump's sexual misconduct and dismissed his accusers as politically motivated liars. Trump has rejected claims that he was ever inappropriate with women, despite a bombshell 2005 Access Hollywood tape in which he was heard bragging about kissing women and grabbing them "by the pussy."
In a statement to New York Magazine, the White House called Carroll's allegations "a completely false and unrealistic story surfacing 25 years after allegedly taking place," adding that "it was created simply to make the President look bad."
Later Friday evening, Trump released his own lengthy statement, denying that he had ever met the writer, despite a photo published by the Cut showing Trump and Carroll speaking at a party. Trump accused the writer of fabricating the entire encounter "to sell a new book" and carry out a "political agenda."
"That should indicate her motivation. It should be sold in the fiction section," the president said. "Shame on those who make up false stories of assault to try to get publicity...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. Worse still for a dying publication to try to prop itself up by peddling fake news—it’s an epidemic."
Trump then stated that those who make false accusations "diminish the severity of real assault" and insinuated without evidence that the Democratic Party might be working with Carroll to help tarnish the president's reputation, declaring: "The world should know what’s really going on. It is a disgrace and people should pay dearly for such false accusations.”
Carroll did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News' request for comment.
Carroll, 75, wrote that she never came forward with her allegations against Trump until now for fear of "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."
Carroll, who is now an Elle advice columnist, said that the incident occurred in either late 1995 or early 1996 when she had her own cable TV show, Ask E. Jean, on America’s Talking.
In her book, Carroll wrote that she met Trump at the Manhattan department store when he recognized her as "that advice lady" and sought her help to buy a gift for "a girl."
Carroll, who was 52 at the time of the alleged incident, said she agreed to help him, and eventually they ended up in the lingerie section of the department store, where no one else was present.
Carroll wrote that Trump asked her to try on a "lacy see-through bodysuit," and she responded by joking that he should try it on. She said that she laughed as they both made their way to the dressing room.
Carroll said that after the dressing room door closed, Trump pushed her against the wall and put his mouth against her lips. After she shoved him back and started laughing, Carroll said, he pushed her against the wall again and pulled down her tights.
She said that Trump then "unzips his pants, and, forcing his fingers around my private area, thrusts his penis halfway — or completely, I’m not certain — inside me."
Carroll said she struggled with Trump during the nearly three-minute encounter and was eventually able to push him off of her and run out of the dressing room and the store.
She said that she did not report the incident to police but confided to two of her journalist friends at the time, one of whom repeatedly told her, "He raped you," and urged her to go to the police.
Carroll said that she never again wore the Donna Karan coatdress that she had on at the time of the incident until she posed in it for the latest cover of New York Magazine.
Describing the aftermath of the alleged incident with Trump, Carroll wrote, "And whether it’s my age, the fact that I haven’t met anyone fascinating enough over the past couple of decades to feel 'the sap rising,' as Tom Wolfe put it, or if it’s the blot of the real-estate tycoon, I can’t say. But I have never had sex with anybody ever again."