Another day, another Trump scandal.
This one is a little different. Rather than Trump sending the media into a fervor, it was the reverse.
Trump, as we all now, has been making hay out of the supposed “rapists” that the government of Mexico is sending into America. There’s no evidence that undocumented Mexicans are any more responsible for rape than any other group, and there’s no evidence that the government of Mexico is intentionally sending rapists to the United States.
But it’s Trump.
Anyway, The Daily Beast published an article quoting from a book written ages ago about Trump. The book, from 1993, is titled Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump, and in it, Ivana Trump (his first wife) reportedly made a statement during a deposition pursuant to the Trump divorce — that she was raped once by Donald Trump. The details, according to the deposition according to the 1993 book according to the Daily Beast, can be read at the link.
Ostensibly, not much of a headline grabber, especially when Ivana releases a statement essentially denying the incident:
So there it is. And that would have been it, had Donald Trump and his staff just let it go.
Trump’s campaign adviser and legal counsel weighed in:
Michael Cohen, special counsel at The Trump Organization, defended his boss, saying, “You’re talking about the frontrunner for the GOP, presidential candidate, as well as a private individual who never raped anybody. And, of course, understand that by the very definition, you can’t rape your spouse.”
“It is true,” Cohen added. “You cannot rape your spouse. And there’s very clear case law.”
Of COURSE a man can rape his spouse. Sure, there used to be a “marital rape exemption” in almost every state, but now, non-consensual sex is, of course, illegal in all 50 states whether or not the perpetrator is married to the victim.
In New York, the marital rape exception was down away with in 1984, long before Donald and Ivana Trump divorced. (FYI: In 1993, we saw the last state repeal the old rule holding that a husband could not rape their wife. That state was North Carolina)
So Trump gets dinged by his own staff’s spread of misinformation. How ironic.
But Mr. Cohen was undeterred from laying into The Daily Beast:
“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 ranted, according to the news website. “So I’m warning you, tread very f—ing lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be f—ing disgusting. You understand me?
In further irony, Trump is distancing himself from Cohen.
“Mr. Trump speaks for Mr. Trump and nobody but Mr. Trump speaks for him,” a campaign source told CNN.
Cohen probably comes from that segment of conservative thought that believes there should be no such thing as marital rape. In fact, there is a long history of conservative opposition to the very concept of marital rape. Recognizing that rape occurs within marriage requires believing that husbands don’t have automatic sexual rights over their wives’ bodies.
Conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly has been a Republican delegate to eight national conventions, including in 2012. She ran for Congress on the Republican ticket, twice. She also has repeatedly said she doesn’t believe that marital rape exists.
“I think that when you get married you have consented to sex,” she said in a 2008 interview. “That’s what marriage is all about, I don’t know if maybe these girls missed sex ed.”