On Thursday, the New York Times responded to Donald Trump’s request to retract their story posted about two women who accused Trump of touching them inappropriately.
The general counsel for the New York Times, David McCraw, sent a written response to Donald Trump’s lawyer. The letter made it clear that the New York Times would not be retracting the article and surely wouldn’t apologize for publishing it in the first place.
You can read the response CNN shared online below:
Dear. Mr. Kasowitz:
I write in response to your letter of October 12, 2016 to Dean Baquet concerning your client Donald Trump, the Republican Party nominee for President of the United States. You write concerning our article ‘Two Women Say Donald Trump Touched Them Inappropriately’ and label the article as ‘libel per se.’ You ask that we ‘remove it from [our] website, and issue a full and immediate retraction and apology.’ We decline to do so.
The essence of a libel claim, of course, is the protection of one’s reputation. Mr. Trump has bragged about his non-consensual sexual touching of women. He has bragged about intruding on beauty contestants in their dressing rooms. He acquiesced to a radio host’s request to discuss Mr. Trump’s own daughter as a ‘piece of a–.’ Multiple women not mentioned in our article have publicly come forward to report on Mr. Trump’s unwanted advances. Nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr. Trump, through his own words and actions, has already created for himself.
But there is a larger and much more important point here. The women quoted in our story spoke out on an issue of national importance — indeed, an issue that Mr. Trump himself discussed with the whole nation watching during Sunday night’s presidential debate. Our reporters diligently worked to confirm the women’s accounts. They provided readers with Mr. Trump’s response, including his forceful denial of the women’s reports. It would have been a disservice not just to our readers but to democracy itself to silence their voices. We did what the law allows: We published newsworthy information about a subject of deep public concern. If Mr. Trump disagrees, if he believes that American citizens had no right to hear what these women had to say and that the law of this country forces us and those who would dare to criticize him to stand silent or be punished, we welcome the opportunity to have a court set him straight.
If you missed the news leading up to this publicized letter, you can read what happened below, including Donald Trump’s letter to the New York Times.
Trump Threatens The New York Times With a Lawsuit
The letter sent to the New York Times was posted on Donald Trump’s website and reads as follows.
Dear Mr. Baquet:
We represent Donald J. Trump. We write in response to the libelous article published October 12, 2016 by The New York Times entitled ‘Two Women Say Donald Trump Touched Them Inappropriately.’
Your article is reckless, defamatory and constitutes libel per se. It is apparent from, among other things, the timing of the article, that it is nothing more than a politically-motivated effort to defeat Mr. Trump’s candidacy. That is why you apparently performed an entirely inadequate investigation to test the veracity of these false and malicious allegations, including why these two individuals waited, in one case, 11 years, and, in another case, more than three decades, before deciding to come forward with these false and defamatory statements. Clearly, The New York Times is willing to provide a platform to anyone wishing to smear Mr. Trump’s name and reputation prior to the election irrespective of whether the alleged statements have any basis in fact.
We hereby demand that you immediately cease any further publication of this article, remove it from your website and issue a full and immediate retraction and apology. Failure to do so will leave my client with no option but to pursue all available actions and remedies.
Marc E. Kasowitz
This letter was sent out on October 12 and quickly received the response above from the New York Times the following day.
The New York Times Article That Started It All
During the debate, Donald Trump was asked if he ever done any of the things that he was heard bragging about on the tape that was released where he was heard bragging in 2005 about groping and kissing women.
Most of the debate was centered around this decade-old tape, and Trump was asked specifically if he had ever done those things. He simply replied, “No. I have not.”
That statement caught the attention of two women who have apparently come forward with accounts that suggest the opposite is true: Jessica Leads and Rachel Crooks. These two ladies told the New York Times their stories about their encounters with Donald Trump that left them feeling like they had been violated.
The New York Times reported that Ms. Leads came forward with a story of an encounter with Donald Trump that occurred in 1978. She had never met him before and was simply sitting beside him on a plane after a flight attendant invited her to first class. Trump raised the arm rest and started touching her breasts and reaching up her skirt. Strangely, she says on the video that she might not have been so appalled had Trump kept his hands above her waist. She says when he reached up her skirt, she quickly returned to her seat at the back of the plane, in coach, to get away from him, but never reported the incident. Ms. Leads did tell her family and friends once Trump’s candidacy became clear.
Rachel Crooks tells a similar story. She was a receptionist for Bayrock Group, which was located in Trump Tower in Manhattan. She introduced herself to Trump outside of an elevator in the building. She introduced herself and offered her hand, which Donald Trump shook, but she says he wouldn’t let go of it. He then kissed her cheeks and kissed her right on the mouth. Ms. Crooks also never reported the incident, but instead went back to her desk.
Donald Trump denied these claims to a reporter at the New York Times and threatened legal action, but the article was published anyway.
The New York Times was clear that they won’t be backing down on this and won’t be retracting the article.
It will be interesting to hear Trump’s response to the very public letter and what his next moves will be.
Your turn: What do you think of the New York Times letter to Trump? Do you think it’s strange that these women waited until this critical point in the election to come forward? How much will this news impact your choice come Election Day?
[Featured Image by Evan Vucci/AP Images]