Donald Trump Accused Of Trying To ‘Gaslight’ American Public On E. Jean Carroll Rape Accusation

E. Jean Carroll appears at an event.
Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images for Elle

Donald Trump is accused of trying to “gaslight” the American public regarding allegations from advice columnist E. Jean Carroll that he raped her by openly and obviously lying about his association with her, a columnist claims.

Trump issued an immediate and stinging denial to Carroll’s allegation that Trump forcefully raped her in an incident at a high-end New York department story more than 20 years ago. The president called the allegation a lie, insinuated that Democrats may have been behind it, and said that he had never met Carroll before.

“I’ve never met this person in my life,” he wrote in the statement, posted on Twitter by CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins.

The last denial fell apart immediately, as a picture that was actually published in the article circulating showing Trump and Carroll together at a party.

Now, Trump is being accused of trying to purposely mislead the American public despite clear evidence to the contrary. Vox columnist Laura McGann accused Trump of gaslighting, described as a tactic used by abusers to make people question evidence they have seen with their own eyes.

McGann noted that Carroll spoke about her hesitancy to come forward knowing that Trump would go on the attack, and he followed through not long after a story of her account was published. McGann outlined the gaslighting strategies that Trump employed in his response, including trying to inject doubt by claiming he had never met Carroll before in his life despite the photographic evidence that he had.

Trump also tried to misdirect by making reference to allegations that now Supreme Court Justice sexually assaulted Julie Swetnick, which Trump claimed was a false story made up for political gain. As McGann noted, Trump’s tactic appeared to be trying to make the public forget about the more substantiated claim of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh from Christine Blasey Ford.

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McGann went on to accuse Trump of trying to play up irrelevant details, like the fact that the department store did not have video of the incident — while ignoring the other corroborating evidence that Carroll offered in the form of firsthand accounts she had told to friends at the time the assault took place. Trump ended by turning it around and playing the victim himself, McGann concluded.

For her part, E. Jean Carroll said she had no plans to pursue any charges against Donald Trump for the alleged rape, and the president continues to deny her allegations that he raped her.