Damn This New York Times Response to Donald Trump’s Lawsuit Threat Is Everything

On Wednesday, The New York Times published an article titled “Two Women Say Donald Trump Touched Them Inappropriately” which details yet two more accounts of women who were sexually assaulted by the Republican presidential nominee, just days after Trump denied sexually assaulting any women during a presidential debate. In response to the article, Trump’s legal team accused the NYT of libel — evidence that Trump’s team is just scrambling to save voters before they jump ship right before the election — and demanded that it be removed from the site followed by a retraction and an apology. New York Times VP and Assistant General Counsel David McCraw sent an assertive formal letter to Trump’s legal team basically saying, “yo, what we did was legal. have you ever thought Trump is ruining his own reputation??.” Here’s what he actually said:

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 pageant contestants in their dressing rooms. He acquiesced to a radio host’s request to discuss Mr. Trump’s own daughter as a “piece of ass.” 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.

He further explains “a larger and more important point here” — that the NYT didn’t stand to silence these women, who have never come forward with their stories before because they felt powerless.

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.

In the NYT article, Jessica Leeds, 74, and Rachel Crooks, 33, talk about the inappropriate encounters they endured years ago. More than three decades ago, Leeds was on a flight to New York when a flight attendant asked if she wanted to be bumped to the first class cabin. She accepted the offer and ended up sitting next to Donald Trump, who she had never met before. Forty-five minutes into the flight, Trump pulled back the arm rest and began touching Leeds, fondled her breasts and tried putting his hand up her skirt. “He was like an octopus,” Leeds told the NYT. “His hands were everywhere.”

jessicaleeds

Crooks was a 22-year-old receptionist at a company located inside Trump Tower when she met Trump in the building’s elevator in 2005. Crooks introduced herself to Trump and went in for a handshake but he grabbed her hand and did not let go and began kissing her on the cheeks and then on the mouth. “It was so inappropriate,” Crooks told the NYT. “I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that.”

Both women never reported their accounts to authorities and only told friends and family about their experiences. Their experiences echo those of other women who have come forward to talk about unwanted sexual advances from Trump including People reporter Natasha Stoynoff, who published her story on Wednesday night.

Stoynoff was assigned the Trump beat and went to Mar-a-Lago to interview Trump and Melania Trump for a “First Wedding Anniversary” story in December 2005. After the interview, Melania left the two alone to change and that’s when Trump said he wanted to show Stoynoff a particular room so she followed him to the room. He shut the door and immediately pushed Stoynoff against a wall and “forc[ed] his tongue down [her] throat.”

In all the cases, Trump has never apologized and has never owned up to his actions or words. Actually all he’s apologized for is partaking in “locker room banter” (which is somehow excusable in his view) after the Washington Post published a gross video of him talking to Access Hollywood host Billy Bush last week. In the video, Trump boasts about kissing and touching women without their consent, which includes him saying: “I’m automatically attracted to beautiful [women]—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

Trump keeps denying he sexually assaulted any women and is saying they’re liars and their stories are fabrications meant to discredit him right before the election. At a campaign rally today, Trump said this about Stoynoff: “You take a look. Look at her. Look at her words. Tell me what you think. I don’t think so. I don’t think so…These people are horrible people. They’re horrible, horrible liars. And interestingly, it happens to appears 26 days before our very important election. Isn’t that amazing?”

It’s no denying Trump doesn’t give a damn about women or understands the definition of consent or sexual assault and is a reflection of deep seated rape culture. With the presidential election quickly approaching, let’s hope the damning video evidence and these women’s accounts obliterate his following.

Yvonne S. Marquez is a lesbian journalist and Autostraddle senior editor living in Dallas, TX. She writes about social justice, politics, activism and other things dear to her heart like Selena and tacos. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism and has since written and edited lots of gay stuff for the internet. Yvonne calls the borderlands home, strongly identifies with her Scorpio moon sign, and really hopes to crush the patriarchy soon. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter.

Yvonne has written 203 articles for us.

49 Comments

    • Trump is horrible, but no. Just no. Violence is never to be encouraged in our electoral process.

      Plus, imagine all the innocent people that would die if all the Trump supporters with their cherished guns rioted.

  1. What amazes me is that we all already knew all this shit, so why the fuck did the press ignore it for so long and let Donald coast through most of this election? Goddamn ratings and money, that’s why.

    • THIS. Where was all this deep investigative journalism after his Rosie O’Donnell comments in the first primary debate? Why weren’t they talking to Natasha Stoynoff following Trump’s comments to Megyn Kelly? Why the fuck does Hillary’s team have to do all this oppo research? Why weren’t the other Republican presidential candidates doing their fucking job and vetting him properly? This shit has been around for DECADES. It’s in the public domain, it’s public knowledge. How did it take SIXTEEN MONTHS worth of him campaigning for president before someone bothered to look into this stuff?!

    • Good question. Republicans created this monster with their hatefulness towards women, racial minorities, lgbtq peeps, and immigrants. Corporate media, so in love with viewership spikes, fed it.

      It didn’t matter we were calling out his abhorrent behaviour and outlook. It didn’t matter real people were and are harmed.

  2. Ok I guess I’m going to rant for a moment.

    Fuck Trump and fuck rape culture. Fuck his racism. Fuck his ‘locker-room talk.’ I am so angry.

    I knew this stuff ran deep but I had no idea it ran so deep that our nation’s white cis men would rather vote for an actual racist rapist with no political experience and the vocabulary of a snail, than for a qualified woman.

    I had no idea that shit was so fucked up that a person can say actual things, on the record, that are so horrible and criminal that I won’t repeat them here because we’re all traumatized enough, stuff about ten year old girls, stuff about sexual assault, entirely racist stuff about immigrants, AND THE WHITE CIS MEN OF AMERICA WOULD STILL SAY, he’s better than the alternative, he tells it like it is, repeal the 19th, don’t worry, EVERY MAN TALKS THAT WAY WHEN WOMEN AREN’T AROUND. What a fucking insult to men. What a fucking insult to America. What a fucking assault on everyone who isn’t a white cis man. This is what it’s come to.

    I’m angry but the thing is it’s out in the open now. This is 2016. We’re not able to pretend anymore that the system is no longer racist. We’re not able to pretend that shit is equal for people across the gender spectrum. This shit is on the record and in the books and anyone accessing the Internet Wayback machine for their high school civics project in 2050 is going to know just how far away we were from any sort of real American dream. If a stupid orange proto-Hitler type making it almost all the way to the White House is what we needed to finally convince the last of us that the system is fucked, then, well, at least the last of us are convinced. This is a country for rich white men and the systems that keep them safe are contingent upon keeping everyone else in their places. And I didn’t know that at all when I was seventeen, and I didn’t really truly know that when I was 27, and I should have. I should have known. I should have known the ways in which that system was protecting me at the expense of others, as a cis person, as a white person, and I should have known how it was failing me as a queer person, as a woman, and I should have thought more and harder and all the time about all of this, and I am just so disappointed in myself and my teachers and everyone. Trump’s a canary in a coal mine, he’s a symptom, not the disease. And he’s showing us things we should have known.

    Now I know. We all know now. Fuck it, fuck it, fuck it, fuck him, he’s a wart on the ass of a ridiculous moment in history, and I have no good way to wrap this up and I’m sorry I rambled, but good LORD am I angry.

    The end, sorry, bye

    • What I find even more disturbing is, that 42%of the American people are not white cis men.
      No self respecting woman..oh, wait.
      It’s not just the white cis men.
      It’s the undercurrent of self-loathing, no doubt fed by a lifetime of abuse that also empowers him.
      While I’m all for toppling the patriarchy, it’s important that we’re starting to regain control of our narratives,too.
      And not just women, but colored people and the poor!
      What person on a minimum wage job could possibly think cutting taxes for the super rich is a good idea?
      The ashamed.
      The ones who have learned to hate us, (talking about myself here)the educated liberals, with a passion of a thousand suns.
      Who are willing to elect a monster because they feel so unheard and desperate.
      That’s not a solution, though.
      Trump is not an alternative to anything.
      And I also don’t think a lot of people realize the breadth of what they’re doing.
      So, it’s time to remind them.
      “Hey friend, how come you’re voting for my rights to fly out the window? Pence wants to invest federal tax dollars into gay conversion therapy, you hate me this much?”
      Only way to do that is with pride.
      I wish you a lot of strength in the next few weeks, Americans.
      xoxo

      • This is exactly what happened in the UK with Brexit. It was (predominantly) voted for by people who felt unheard, rejected, uncared for. They thought there would be change. We’re (rightly) hugely proud of our NHS and people were told there would be £350 million a week more going to it.

        People had no idea what they were actually voting for, and it was really heartbreaking. Some of the places that voted most strongly to leave were the ones receiving most aid from EU grants and didn’t realise. Then the day of the result all the promises were rescinded, the pound crashed and funding was withdrawn from higher education, etc etc. And people started to want to change their mind, realising how misinformed they’d been. The people who voted leave are (in the main) likely to be the mostly badly affected by it.

        And now we’re at the point where the government is refusing to listen to any opinion on EU policiy that doesn’t come from a British person https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/oct/07/lse-brexit-non-uk-experts-foreign-academics. It’s all getting very scary and overly nationalist.

        I really hope you get the better result!

        • I used to live in the UK and I went back to visit friends in August. It’s probably no coincidence that one of my former co-workers who was pro-Brexit was also pro-Trump. I hope he’s changed his tune by now, but somehow I doubt it.

          • Interesting – I know very few people who voted leave, but all of them are still very anti Trump. The UK has been incredibly dimwitted, and we’re screwing over everyone else’s economy. But our decision is unlikely to lead to war, which I’m not 100% can be said about the US if Trump wins.

            Basically, any time a country decides that it wants to ‘be great again’ or ‘take back control’ with self aggrandising ideas, it goes badly for everyone else.

            I hope your co-worker has too!

  3. What I cannot understand is why there are still WOMEN supporting Trump? I couldn’t understand it 6 months ago, and I REALLY cannot understand it now. Do people really hate Hillary THAT MUCH? But but but the emails! But but but she’s a liar! That’s all they can say about her. What about Trump? Every time he opens his mouth he lies. He can’t even keep his lies straight! I cannot wait until this is all over…

  4. i have been a supporter of hillary clinton but not a particularly passionate one. BUT i do feel like what this situation and donald trump’s attempts to bury hillary vis-a-vis bill clinton’s past scandals (and not all of what trump has brought forth is legit, but that’s another story) have really drawn our attention to YET AGAIN is that there is a really big situation in this country with rape culture and toxic masculinity to the point where you know what, actually, although i thought it was absolute bullshit to say you were just voting for hillary because hillary is a woman, i would support everybody who wants to do just that.

    as a group, men in powerful positions have sexually assaulted, exploited and terrorized women at alarming rates. yet… we continue putting them in charge OF EVERYTHING. and then we have to sit here and wait for them to tread through one sex scandal after another. i was a sex worker for a long time, which puts you in the unique position of being subjected to “locker room talk” to your face, because they’re paying for it, and that’s fine, that’s the job, but I’m just saying, donald trump’s feelings about women are not unique.

    “We have an abundance of rape and violence against women in this country and on this Earth, though it’s almost never treated as a civil rights or human rights issue, or a crisis, or even a pattern. Violence doesn’t have a race, a class, a religion, or a nationality, but it does have a gender.”
    – Rebecca Solnit, Men Explain Things To Me

  5. And if this wasn’t enough to turn your stomach, there’s the case filed against Trump – sadly, not being heard until December:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-bloom/why-the-new-child-rape-ca_b_10619944.html

    “Jane Doe says that as a thirteen year old, she was enticed to attend parties at the home of Jeffrey Epstein with the promise of money modeling jobs. Mr. Epstein is a notorious “billionaire pedophile” who is now a Level 3 registered sex offender – the most dangerous kind, “a threat to public safety” — after being convicted of misconduct with another underage girl.

    Jane Doe says that Mr. Trump “initiated sexual contact” with her on four occasions in 1994. Since she was thirteen at the time, consent is not an issue. If Mr. Trump had any type sexual contact with her in 1994, it was a crime.

    On the fourth incident, she says Mr. Trump tied her to a bed and forcibly raped her, in a “savage sexual attack,” while she pleaded with him to stop. She says Mr. Trump violently struck her in the face. She says that afterward, if she ever revealed what he had done, Mr. Trump threatened that she and her family would be “physically harmed if not killed.” She says she has been in fear of him ever since.”

      • Because women don’t have as much worth as the chance “making this country great again” does.
        Or the right to overpowered firearms.
        Or taking the right of choice from uterus havers

        It’s him or the liberals will continue to run this once great, moral country into the ground for certain groups of people.
        Women don’t matter as much as stopping the liberal onslaught to their view of the world.

  6. I have a new word. It is called Trumping. It is defined as a person giving unwarranted sexual attention including sexual harassment, groping or any other lewd sexual behavior.

    Used in a Sentence” Yo man, why are trumping that girl. You know she doesn’t want you. Leave her alone already.

  7. Y’all should watch Michelle’s speech from today if you haven’t yet. Much needed antidote to the very scary scene out there. Can’t wait to get my absentee ballot and vote for Hill.

  8. The selective moral outrage in this campaign is absolutely deplorable. It will be the greatest blow to the female cause in history when we as women conspire to put a proven sexual predator and his enabling wife in the white house. Due to sexual assault charges, Bill lost his license to practice law and settled the case with Paula Jones for 850 thousand dollars. Hillary Clinton was the leader of the public smear campaign meant to disqualify, and yet again assault these multiple victims. See her threatening the assaulted women https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FG0V6ue8oSw
    Also, don´t forget the child rapist she successfully defended and was later caught laughing about the rapist passing a polygraph. These behaviors/actions tell you something on somebody’s character and it isn’t pretty.
    The tape on Donald Trump was a bad attempt by the Clinton Campaign and her press office, the MSM, to diverge the public´s attention from the evidence provided by wikileaks. Evidence that shows what the majority of Americans have been thinking for years. HRC is the face of everything that is wrong with the corrupt Washington political establishment. That it is just a big bad joke that she is running for president and is sharing the debate stage with Trump because she is undoubtedly the most corrupt politician to ever seek the office of the presidency of the united states. She perfected the Washington pay for play politics through her foundation which enabled her to personally benefit from deals that harmed America. The uranium deal, the arms deal with Saudi Arabia, the list is endless. She also managed to mix up the justice department and her campaign politics which ensured she escaped prosecution for her illegal private email server which was devised on purpose to keep her corrupt dealings out of sight.
    The Idea that this woman will be the first woman to obtain the presidency is a disgrace to the legacy of the female movement. We as woman cannot allow the first female president to be the most crooked president in history, an enabler of sexual assault and to be a complete phony that has a “private and public standpoint on policy´´.
    And to top it off, She claims she is a champion on female rights, but her actions prove she is the champion of a movement, called islam, that strips woman from their rights. Her largest net contributor is a total of several middle eastern countries. Hence, her complete silence on Islam´s hatred for women and the abuse women in these countries suffer on a daily basis in almost every aspect of their lives. Influential woman such as Clinton, who don’t step up, have made it possible that it has become politically correct to be utterly silent on the abuse of woman in the Muslim world or Muslim woman in the western world. Great women who came before us, are spinning in their graves because of our silence.
    Trumps words are just words. His words were an expression of his love for women. In the most un -delicate manner. But as a red blooded lesbian, I must say I kinda laughed about it because I have used the P word from time to time myself. Instead I look at his actions when it comes to his treatment to women. I listen to the women who worked in his company and it´s nothing but positive. I look at the woman his daughter has become and find that she is a confident and strong woman who also actively champions women through her actions. Take a look at her woman who work campaign and her influence on policy considering child care.
    I do know that sexual assault is a sensitive issue, but please try to look through the media smear campaign on Trump and don´t be tempted to vote for a woman despite everything. Because when you vote for Hillary just because she is a woman you might just be giving the biggest blow to our cause since a very, very long time. You might be un-attracted ( to say the least) to Trumps Alpha male, high testosterone attitude, but at least he is a fighter who will fight for ALL Americans and not sell America to the highest bidder.

    • “as a red blooded lesbian, I must say I kinda laughed about it because I have used the P word from time to time myself.”

      Lolol

      I mean this whole comment is Lolol but that part was particularly good

      Fuck off

        • That smug smile on your face, is the same one millions of Americans saw on Hillary’s face at the debate when Trump effectively prosecuted her for her illegal activities. It’s the smile people will be thinking about when they go they go to the polls in droves on November 8th and vote put an end to an era of corrupt Washington politics.

          Do you seriously want to be part of a group that votes to keep the status quo? To keep the corruption going in Washington by voting Hillary? If you can’t bare yourself to vote Trump, at least stay at home or vote Stein.

    • The Access Hollywood tape was not made public by the Clinton campaign. To claim they orchestrated this is a bit too conspiratorial for me.

      I am an investigator for a human rights agency. I hear and read stories daily that can flatten me emotionally. I get to act in some cases, and not do so in others. The prevalence of such behaviour is shocking.

      I’m not going to go point by point through your comment. I’ll just say I did not vote for Bill Clinton in 1996 due to his mistreatment of women. I do support Hillary. She is not Bill, and he isn’t running for office. Their viewpoints can and do diverge.

    • Usually, I wouldn’t bother responding to this sort of post because Margareth clearly has an aversion to facts but just in case someone of good faith stumbles upon this nonsense, a few points:

      1. No one is being selectively outraged. Hillary Clinton is on the ballot, her philandering husband is not.

      2. Bill Clinton faced actual consequences for his transgressions, including impeachment, as he should have. Donald Trump ‘s consequences? Well…

      Image and video hosting by TinyPic

      3. MT also parrots the widely debunked conspiracy theory about Clinton. If you lack MT’s aversion to facts, you can read what actually happened here: http://www.snopes.com/hillary-clinton-freed-child-rapist-laughed-about-it

  9. I want to figure out what to do about the problems that such a large percentage of the population (1)is fact-averse in general, and (2) is actually in agreement with, identifies with, and LIKES Trump– not only now, but for the past year ever since he announced he was running in a stunningly racist speech condemning Mexican immigrants.

    Winning this election is not enough. We need to address these problems and not just sigh in relief if he loses the majority vote.

    And I honestly agree that Hillary is not really “my candidate”– she is 9 trillion times better than Trump, and I agree with her about some issues, but there are also places that I think she’s dangerously wrong, and just because her opponent is a maniacal bigot, rapist, and incompetent, doesn’t mean we are going to claim some mind-blowing victory when she wins. Even if you love Hillary, a lot of the people voting for her are doing it not out of love for her but out of horror at Trump. So at best, no matter how you slice it, if she wins, it’s a stop-gap, not a real solution. That kills me. We’ve successfully lowered the bar on what will cause jubilation and relief.

    Also, the fact that the recent rape talk was the thing that has shifted the polls against Trump — a little– does not comfort me that much. I mean, why wasn’t it enough when he called Mexicans rapists and murderers? Or when he suggested a ban on Muslims? Or when he did any number of other repulsive things? There is not enough moral revulsion to go around at this point. But we also need more than the revulsion, we need a strategy.

    Loved Michelle Obama’s speech. I love her.

    • I think Hillary’s a fantastic candidate. Does she have flaws? Sure. Barrack does. So does Bernie. I’m not sure why, when people talk about Hillary, her flaws seem to eclipse her incredible work and accomplishments.

  10. I used to say,” I’m Republican”. I have to clarify that now, “I’m a fiscal Republican and a Social Democrat”.
    The Republican Party shit its pants 8 years ago. They never disrobed, bathed and looked for fresh underclothes. They merely thought they could just say the Democrats smelled bad. They had 4 years of President Obama’s first term to find the right person to run in 2012. They had ample opportunity to get together, discuss the real issues at hand and find the person to push out front to be the face of the Republican Party.
    I voted Obama, by the way. Sarah Palin was the wrong choice for the Party to falsely portray as a strong woman with sense.
    In 2012, Republicans pushed Mitt “the Twit” Romney. One would have thought the great reveal of all the behind the scene discussions would have produced someone far better. Soft walkin Mitt was the equivalent of 4 years wasted. Still, there should have been someone in the Republican Party to stand up and say, “We’ve taken a beating on our own playing field for some time now, we need a new pitching coach, a new quarter back, hell a new point guard.” Obviously, no-one stood to point out the boat had a hole in it!!
    Now. I don’t know how to say this nicely. The run up to the 2016 election has proven, “Idiots are among us”.
    This clearly isn’t the beginning of the end. Looking back, that was 2008. The only thing for the Republican Party now is to figure out what “it”, the team will look like in 2020. Because clearly, trades are going to be made. Just sayin…
    I’m with Her!!!

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