Why the latest assault allegation against Trump hasn’t gotten more attention

JUDY WOODRUFF: Last week, another woman stepped
forward to accuse President Trump of a forcible,
violent sexual assault, one that meets the
legal definition of rape.
It allegedly happened during the 1990s.
But, as William Brangham reports, this latest
startling allegation has gotten limited attention.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: On Friday, longtime writer
and columnist E. Jean Carroll accused President
Trump of attacking her back in the late 1990s,
describing a rape she alleges occurred in
a New York department store.
Carroll’s allegation is detailed in her upcoming
book, and was excerpted in “New York Magazine.”
She describes a violent encounter with the
then real estate mogul inside the store’s
dressing room.
E. JEAN CARROLL, Trump Accuser: He pulled
down my tights.
And it was a fight.
It was — I want women to know that I did
not stand there.
I did not freeze.
I wasn’t paralyzed, which is a reaction that
I could have had, because it’s so shocking.
No, I fought.
And it was over very quickly.
It was against my will, 100 percent.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Carroll confided in two
friends soon after the event, and both have
recently corroborated her account to multiple
news organizations.
President Trump, however, has repeatedly denied
the accusation.
DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
What she did is, it’s terrible, what’s going
So, it’s a total false accusation.
And I don’t know anything about her.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And to The Hill newspaper,
he said of Carroll: “She’s just not my type.”
The statute of limitations for rape has passed,
going by Carroll’s timeline, which means the
president cannot be charged.
E. Jean Carroll is now at least the 16th woman
to credibly accuse President Trump of some
form of physical sexual misconduct or assault,
and the second woman to credibly accuse him
of what the law would consider rape.
The president has denied each and every one
of these accusations.
Lucia Graves writes for The Guardian, and
she detailed the story of one of the president’s
earlier accusers.
And she’s spoken with many more of them in
the course of her reporting.
Welcome to the “NewsHour.”
LUCIA GRAVES, The Guardian: Thanks for having
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, Ms. Carroll’s allegation,
as vivid and graphic as it is, tracks with
what the president said he does in that notorious
“Access Hollywood” tape, where he says he
grabs women by the genitals without hesitation.
It also dovetails with what many women have
said the president has attempted or done to
them in the past.
I mean, there is — a pattern has emerged.
LUCIA GRAVES: Yes, it actually tracks almost
exactly with the story that Jill Harth, his
former business associate, told to me in…
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: This is the woman you reported
LUCIA GRAVES: … July of 2016.
Yes, she was the first accuser to come forward
with a story of sexual assault against the
president, although she also filed it in a
lawsuit in the ’90s.
All of the details that are in the account
and the sort of thing that he described doing
on tape, as published in The Washington Post,
are almost remarkably consistent.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: When Carroll’s account came
out on Friday, The New York Times didn’t put
it on the front page.
They put it in their book review section,
the same with The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago
Tribune, The Wall Street Journal.
Why do you think that this accusation didn’t
get more attention?
LUCIA GRAVES: So, that did surprise me, even
though I felt, when my story came out in 2016,
it didn’t receive anything approaching the
coverage and pickup that it should have.
But I would think that, with a sitting president,
and with 16 credible accusers, and the charge
of rape, that would have changed.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Do you think it’s just that
the press has become inured to it, that they
have — it feels like there’s just so many
of these accusations, we can’t run them all
I mean, the New York Times editor sort of
regretfully said, we didn’t give it the play
we really should have.
But what do you think is going on there?
LUCIA GRAVES: I don’t think that The Times
should necessarily be singled out here.
I do think that this is very prevalent in
political media culture.
And I think it’s part of why we have been
— and I do feel it’s a we — have been so
slow to this story and these kinds of stories,
and why the kinds of coverage of other men,
like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby, didn’t
come until as late as they did.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: You have spoken to not just
one, but many of the women who have accused
President Trump of this kind of behavior.
And I’m just curious, what is your sense of
how they do, both coming forward, coming with
the courage to come forward and say this,
the attacks that then follow, and then the
aftermath, when there continues to be this
ongoing echo of new accusers piling on?
How do they handle that?
LUCIA GRAVES: I think it’s exhausting and
And I think that you — we actually heard
this directly from E. Jean Carroll when she
talked about why she didn’t come forward sooner,
which is one of the first things that was
sort of leveraged at her, and she knew would
And she said, you know, I had no desire to
join the ranks of those women facing death
threats and trolls and, you know, people calling
them liars, or the president calling them
too ugly to sexually assault.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And we should say, again,
for the record that the president has 100
percent denied all of these accusations.
But what does it say to you that we still
seem to have a very difficult time reckoning
with the seriousness of these allegations,
even today, in the MeToo era?
LUCIA GRAVES: I think it’s incredible.
Just the notion that women get raped is because
they’re attractive, and not because it’s an
insult and about power, is very wrong-headed.
And I think that we like to think there’s
been so much growth.
And, clearly, the media — and I would — and
even sort of political establishment, to some
extent, is evolving on this.
But I think this shows that we’re not anywhere
close to where we thought we were and where
we like to consider ourselves to be.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Lucia Graves of The Guardian,
thank you very much for being here.
LUCIA GRAVES: Thanks for having me.

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