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:

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