Wait, What?

AP

Does Donald Trump realize that if you rape your wife it counts as rape? Even if she’s your wife?

Coming on the heels of Donald Trump’s now notorious slur calling Mexicans “rapists”, folks at The Daily Beast have dug up a rape allegation against Trump himself from a book called Lost Tycoon, The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump, published in 1993. According to the book, Trump assaulted his then-wife Ivana in a freakish rage over a botched surgery on his hair. The circumstances of the alleged assault, which is said to have occurred in 1989, are bizarre even by Trump standards. Trump had had a scalp reduction surgery (no, I did not know this existed) to remove a bald spot. Ivana had recommended the plastic surgeon. And apparently it hadn’t gone well and/or Trump was in a lot of pain. So he lashed out at Ivana, attacked her, held her down, began pulling hair out of her head to mimic his pain and forcibly penetrated her.

Now, Trump denies the incident occurred and for that matter denies he ever had the surgery. The account came in a deposition tied to Donald and Ivana’s notorious divorce, which was finalized in 1991. I have no way to know the truth of the allegation. But what jumped out at me in this story is something much more current. In defending his boss, Trump spokesman and Trump Organization special counsel Michael Cohen said that the whole thing doesn’t make sense since, regardless of what happened, you can’t rape your spouse.

Here’s the passage in question …

Michael Cohen, special counsel at The Trump Organization, defended his boss, saying, “You’re talking about the front-runner for the GOP, presidential candidate, as well as private individual who never raped anybody. And, of course, understand that by the very definition, you can’t rape your spouse.”

“It is true,” Cohen added. “You cannot rape your spouse. And there’s very clear case law.”

I’m going to assume Cohen doesn’t practice criminal law because marital rape has been a recognized crime in every state going back to the early 1990s – and in many states going back to the 1970s and 1980s. It is true that it was once the case – legally speaking – that a man had a free right to sex with his wife by fact of their marriage. Even if a husband, by the most traditional definition, raped his wife, it didn’t count because of their marriage. But that was a long time ago. And it’s hard to imagine any lawyer doesn’t know this, let alone any human being in 21st century America.

The article is bizarre because a good bit of it involves Cohen going on a verbal rampage threatening all manner of legal and unnatural acts against the reporters if they publish the story. And fairly far down in the piece, the authors do note that Cohen is incorrect under New York State Law. But this is Trump’s spokesman. He speaks for the candidate. He really thinks that in the eyes of the law a husband cannot rape his wife?

I think this deserves some follow up, no?

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