Time to Press Donald on Whether He Raped His Wife?

Real estate developer Donald Trump and his wife, Ivana, pose aboard their new luxury yacht The Trump Princess docked at the 30th Street pier on the East River in New York City, Monday, July 4, 1988. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler)
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

With Trump’s top GOP supporters now saying his deportation was never real and is actually just a matter of issuing undocumented immigrants with new paperwork, there’s a growing list of questions reporters should really start asking Trump. But Trump himself has now moved on from immigration politics to dredging up allegations about Bill Clinton that range from unsubstantiated to discredited to ridiculous. But here’s the thing: Trump’s former wife Ivana said Trump raped her in a sworn deposition. Given how central a role rape accusations have played in Trump’s campaign – against Mexicans, political opponents, etc. it is clearly a highly germane question, as frankly it would be for any presidential candidate.

The details surrounding the alleged rape are bizarrely novelistic even by Trumpian standards. According to Ivana, Trump was driven to freakish rage by a failed anti-baldness surgery – a so-called ‘scalp reduction’. But the actions are very clear cut. According to her deposition, Trump flew into a rage, attacked her, held her down and began pulling hair out of her head to mimic his pain and then forcibly penetrated her.

Trump of course denies Ivana’s claim. And Ivana Trump, who now has an amicable relationship with her ex-husband has gone to great lengths to downplay the incident. But she has never taken back the claim only stating that while she said he had “raped” her she did not “want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense.”

When Ivana Trump claims were first reported in the 1993 book Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump Trump’s lawyers provided a statement from Ivana in which she said: “During a deposition given by me in connection with my matrimonial case, I stated that my husband had raped me. [O]n one occasion during 1989, Mr. Trump and I had marital relations in which he behaved very differently toward me than he had during our marriage. As a woman, I felt violated, as the love and tenderness, which he normally exhibited towards me, was absent.”

After The Daily Beast resurfaced Ivana’s claims that Donald had raped her, she issued another statement saying the story, which was based entirely on her own sworn deposition, was “totally without merit.” Yet again, she didn’t dispute her words or the incident itself. It is true that lots of accusations get made during acrimonious divorces. But this was a pretty concrete and specific. And the author of the book that first surfaced the deposition said he’d found numerous friends of Ivana’s who she had confided the incident to at the time.

With any other presidential candidate, etc.

Latest Editors' Blog
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: