Two women in whom E. Jean Carroll confided about having allegedly been sexually attacked by Donald Trump in the 1990s spoke publicly about it for the first time in an interview excerpted on the New York Times podcast “The Daily,” describing the conflicting advice they gave their friend at the time.
On Wednesday, Megan Twohey, a Times reporter, interviewed Ms. Carroll and the two women, Carol Martin and Lisa Birnbach, who had not been publicly identified until now. It was the first time since the alleged assault that the women had discussed it together.
President Trump has forcefully denied the accusation, saying Ms. Carroll was “lying,” that he didn’t know her and that he wouldn’t have assaulted her because “she’s not my type.”
Portions of the interview were played Thursday on “The Daily,” and a fuller article about Ms. Carroll by Ms. Twohey, Jessica Bennett and Alexandra Alter will follow later in the day. For now, here are the main takeaways from the interview:
■ The two women in whom Ms. Carroll confided were well-known figures in the ’90s world of New York media. Ms. Martin was a news anchor on WCBS-TV in New York from 1975 to 1995. Ms. Birnbach is a writer best known for “The Official Preppy Handbook,” a best seller released in 1981. She has occasionally written for The Times.
Both knew or had met Mr. Trump during that period: Ms. Birnbach had recently interviewed him at Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Palm Beach, Fla., while Ms. Martin had met him at her news station and had a friend who briefly dated him.
■ When Ms. Carroll told the two women about the alleged attack, they had very different reactions: Ms. Birnbach said she told Ms. Carroll to call the police, while Ms. Martin told Ms. Carroll not to talk about it because Mr. Trump was too powerful. Ultimately, Ms. Carroll, thinking she was partially to blame for the encounter, remained silent about it for decades.
“I said: Don’t tell anybody. I wouldn’t tell anybody this,” Ms. Martin said.
■ Ms. Carroll eventually stopped believing that what happened to her was her fault, but she does not want to consider herself a victim and does not describe the incident as a rape.
“Every woman gets to choose her word,” she said. “Every woman gets to choose how she describes it. This is my way of saying it. This is my word. My word is fight. My word is not the victim word.”
“I have not been raped,” she continued. “Something has not been done to me. I fought.”
■ Ms. Carroll said she originally intended to write a book about touring the country and cheekily asking women if they’d be better off without men. Then accusations against the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein ignited the #MeToo movement, and she realized she needed to reckon with her own experiences. The book morphed to include an account of her own encounters with men, including Mr. Trump.
■ Ms. Carroll said she had no expectation that telling her story would have an impact. At 75 years old, she has come not to expect such stories to come to anything.
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