It’s easy to tell who the GOP front-runner is at any given time, as that is the person most likely to be targeted with “hit pieces” from the so-called “mainstream media.” On Monday, the Daily Beast fired a full-on broadside at Donald Trump with a scathing article dredging up a 1989 accusation of spousal rape.
Tim Mack and Brandy Zadrozny started the lengthy article with a reminder that Trump launched his presidential campaign by calling some illegal immigrants “rapists” who are “bringing crime into the country.” The article said Trump made the accusation “against Mexican immigrants,” but Trump was clearly speaking of those who entered the country illegally.
“I mean somebody’s doing it!” Trump said in a quote used by the Daily Beast. “Who’s doing the raping?” The quote was part of an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon. But the vast majority of the media — including the Daily Beast — forgot to add Trump’s statement earlier that he was speaking about those crossing the border illegally, not all immigrants.
“I said the illegal immigrants,” he told Lemon. “If you look at the statistics on rape, on crime, on everything, coming in illegally into this country, they’re mind-boggling.”
Now, the Daily Beast says that’s “an unfortunate turn of phrase” for the mogul who remains a front-runner despite his statements, which have angered a number of Democrats and establishment Republicans. To prove the point, the article goes back 26 years into Trump’s past.
“Not only does the current front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination have a history of controversial remarks about sexual assault, but as it turns out, his ex-wife Ivana Trump once used ‘rape’ to describe an incident between them in 1989,” the Daily Beast said. “She later said she felt ‘violated’ by the experience.” The Trump campaign wasted no time and fired back in defense.
“You’re talking about the front-runner for the GOP, presidential candidate, as well as private individual who never raped anybody,” said Michael Cohen, special counsel at The Trump Organization. “And, of course, understand that by the very definition, you can’t rape your spouse.”
“It is true,” he added. “You cannot rape your spouse. And there’s very clear case law.”
But the law often has very little to do with media narratives in presidential elections. According to the Daily Beast, Ivana Trump’s claim of “rape” came in a deposition during their divorce and was revealed in the book “Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump.”
After detailing the sordid episode, the Daily Beast then said that New York used to have a marital rape exception to the law. But that was struck down in 1984, years before the incident reportedly took place.
The Blaze said Cohen threatened Mak with a lawsuit if the story was published. “I will make sure that you and I meet one day while we’re in the courthouse. And I will take you for every penny you still don’t have. And I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know,” Cohen reportedly said. “So I’m warning you, tread very (expletive deleted) lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be (expletive deleted) disgusting. You understand me?”
“There is nothing reasonable about you wanting to write a story about somebody’s usage of the word ‘rape,’ when she’s talking [about] she didn’t feel emotionally satisfied,” he added. “Though there’s many literal senses to the word, if you distort it, and you put Mr. Trump’s name there onto it, rest assured, you will suffer the consequences. So you do whatever you want. You want to ruin your life at the age of 20? You do that, and I’ll be happy to serve it right up to you.”
“I think you should go ahead and you should write the story that you plan on writing. I think you should do it,” Cohen said. “Because I think you’re an idiot. And I think your paper’s a joke, and it’s going to be my absolute pleasure to serve you with a $500 million lawsuit, like I told [you] I did it to Univision.”
The Daily Beast published the story despite the threats. Whether the story will impact his campaign is unclear at this point, as he has been able to weather a number of attacks so far. According to the latest polls at Real Clear Politics, Trump leads the crowded GOP field by 4.5 percentage points.