Two women who say famed advice columnist E. Jean Carroll confided in them after President Donald Trump allegedly raped her in the 1990s spoke out publicly for the first time in a New York Times interview released Thursday.
Carol Martin, a former TV news anchor in New York, and author Lisa Birnbach joined Carroll on Wednesday for an interview with Times reporter Megan Twohey.
Birnbach said Carroll called her one day after leaving Bergdorf Goodman in New York City, minutes after the alleged rape had occurred. She said Carroll told her what happened ― an account that has made headlines across the world since New York magazine first published it last week.
Carroll has alleged Trump recognized her as she was leaving the luxury department store that day, stopped her and asked her to advise him on a gift he planned to buy for a woman. They allegedly ended up in the lingerie department of the store, where he told her to try on what she has described as a “bodysuit.”
She said she refused but suggested he do so. That’s when they ended up in a dressing room where, she has alleged, he pinned her against the wall with his shoulder, aggressively pulled down her tights with one hand, undid his pants with the other and and forcibly inserted his penis into her vagina briefly.
“You did say, ‘He put his penis in me,’” Birnbach told Carroll during the Times interview. “And I said ... ‘What? He raped you?’ And you said ... ‘He pulled down my tights. He pulled down my tights.’”
Birnbach said she strongly encouraged Carroll to go to the police but her friend refused. Carroll told the Times on Wednesday that she felt she had encouraged Trump to act in this manner and felt responsible for her own rape.
Between one and three days later, Carroll said she confided in Martin about the alleged assault.
“It wasn’t like she started crying or nothing that was a frantic kind of response to it,” Martin told the Times. “It was like, ‘I can’t believe this happened.’”
Martin said she told Carroll not to tell anyone about the alleged assault because she worried Trump, a powerful New York real estate mogul, could essentially use his team of lawyers to make her life hell.
Carroll, one of more than a dozen women who have accused Trump of sexually assaulting, groping or forcibly kissing them since the 1980s, followed Martin’s advice ― up until recently.
Her rape accusation against Trump became public on Friday when New York magazine published an excerpt of her book, “What Do We Need Men For?: A Modest Proposal,” in which she described the alleged incident.
Trump has denied sexually assaulting anyone, including Carroll. And despite the fact that the magazine story includes a photograph of Carroll with Trump, the president claimed Friday that he had never met the writer.
Asked whether she had a specific motivation for going public with her story more than 20 years after the alleged assault, Carroll said no.
“I had no expectations,” she told the Times. “I’ve learned as a woman of 76 years to have absolutely no expectations because if you have even half of an expectation, you will be disappointed.”
Head over to The New York Times to hear the full interview.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.