The Atlantic

The Real Meaning of Trump’s ‘She’s Not My Type’ Defense

The president, in attempting to downplay E. Jean Carroll’s rape allegation against him, isn’t talking about attraction. He’s talking about protection.
Source: Carolyn Kaster / AP

“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.

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” as a presidential candidate in October 2016, after the former magazine journalist Natasha Stoynoff accused him of attacking her—“He was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat,” —during an interview she had conducted with him at Mar-a-Lago, in 2005:

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

Related Interests

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic2 min read
Books Briefing: If Your Attention Span Is Shrinking, Read Poetry
If you feel you’re losing your ability to focus on a long book while confined indoors and surrounded by digital screens (as staying up to date on a global pandemic seems to command), try turning to poetry to nurse your shrinking attention span back t
The Atlantic13 min read
The Alaska Native Teacher Upending the Legacy of Colonial Education
Josephine Tatauq Bourdon, a 30-year veteran teacher, worked to bring Inupiaq culture to every part of her elementary school’s curriculum.
The Atlantic3 min readSociety
Even Now, Criminal Defendants Have Rights
In California, home to one in eight U.S. residents, emergency measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic have scaled back the rights of criminal defendants, raising thorny questions about what process is due while public-health authorities insist on s