Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump may have raped his first wife, according to statements published in a 1993 biography that were reportedly taken from their early-1990s divorce proceedings. But now Ivana Trump has denied the accusations, which were unearthed by the Daily Beast Monday.
"I have recently read some comments attributed to me from nearly 30 years ago at a time of very high tension during my divorce from Donald," Ivana Trump said in a statement obtained by CNN Tuesday. "The story is totally without merit. Donald and I are the best of friends and together have raised three children we love and are very proud of. I have nothing but love for Donald and wish him the best of luck in his campaign. Incidentally, I think he would make an incredible president."
In a deposition, Ivana Trump accused her husband of raping her during a 1989 encounter. The statement was first publicly revealed in the 1993 book by former Newsweek reporter Harry Hurt III, "Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump," which detailed a "violent assault." According to the biography, following a painful scalp reduction surgery to remove a bald spot, Trump grew angry with Ivana, who used the same plastic surgeon. He then allegedly pulled out clumps of her hair and sexually assaulted her. The Daily Beast reported that Ivana said in her deposition that she felt "violated."
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) July 28, 2015
Trump denied the allegations when the book was published, calling the author “a guy without much talent. He is a guy that is an unattractive guy who is a vindictive and jealous person.”
When the book was about to be published, Ivana Trump provided another statement, which ran on the first page of "Lost Tycoon":
“During a deposition given by me in connection with my matrimonial case, I stated that my husband had raped me,” she said. “[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 toward me, was absent. I referred to this as a ‘rape,’ but I do not want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense.”
Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen separately fired back at the Daily Beast in the article published Monday, saying that a man cannot rape his spouse. “You’re talking about the front-runner for the GOP, presidential candidate, as well as a private individual who never raped anybody," Cohen told the Daily Beast. "And, of course, understand that by the very definition, you can’t rape your spouse.”
Marital rape is in fact considered rape in all 50 states. The New York state Supreme Court struck down a "marital rape exemption" in 1984.
Trump has distanced himself from Cohen since the lawyer's statements about marital rape. "Mr. Trump speaks for Mr. Trump and nobody but Mr. Trump speaks for him," a campaign source told CNN on Tuesday morning.
Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz Tuesday jumped on Cohen's comments, which she called "outrageous," according to the conservative news site the Daily Caller. "This is a new low," Wasserman Schultz said. "Rape is rape. Full stop. End of story. There is no difference or division between ‘forcible’, ‘legitimate’, ‘marital’ or any other label Republicans slap on before the word ‘rape’. All rape is a disgusting violation, and Americans have fought too long and hard for that to be acknowledged to still have it questioned in 2015."