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Trump's third response to assault allegation is arguably his worst

Donald Trump's first two responses to new sexual assault allegations were problematic. His third was considerably worse.
US President Donald Trump tries to listen to a question as walks on the South Lawn upon his return to the White House in Washington from Cleveland, Ohio, on...

The public learned on Friday about new sexual-assault allegations E. Jean Carroll, a longtime writer and media figure, raised against Donald Trump. Her account, published as a book excerpt in New York magazine, described an alleged incident in a department store in the mid-1990s in which the future president attacked her in a dressing room.

Carroll said she told two friends about the alleged incident at the time, both of whom are journalists the writer did not identify by name. She’s the latest in a series of women who’ve accused Trump of misconduct.

As we've discussed, the president issued a written response on Friday afternoon, claiming he’s never met Carroll. The New York magazine article, however, included a photograph of the two interacting at an event years before the alleged attack.

His second response came a day later, during a brief Q&A with reporters, when Trump again said he has "no idea who this woman is," before sharing details about Carroll's background. He proceeded to dismiss the relevance of the photograph, before comparing himself to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, which wasn't exactly helpful.

All of which set the stage for Response #3.

President Trump said Monday that writer E. Jean Carroll was "totally lying" when she recently accused him of raping her during an encounter in a New York department store in the mid-1990s.In an exclusive interview with The Hill, the president vehemently denied the allegations just hours after Carroll detailed the alleged incident during a cable news interview."I'll say it with great respect: Number one, she's not my type. Number two, it never happened. It never happened, OK?" the president said while seated behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.

The president's "not my type" rhetoric made it sound as if he doesn't consider Carroll attractive enough to attack.

And while that's obviously indefensible, it's also painfully familiar. This report, published just a few weeks before Election Day 2016, comes to mind.

Trump went further to say he'd never met these people, despite one of the accusers, Natasha Stoynoff, having done an in-person interview with Trump and his wife Melania early in their marriage. Trump flatly called Stoynoff "a liar" and directed the crowd to "check out her Facebook page -- you'll understand."Trump said another accuser, Jessica Leeds, who alleges Trump groped her on an airplane thirty years ago, "Would not be his first choice.""When you looked at that horrible woman last night," Trump said in an apparent reference to her appearance on CNN, "you said, I don't think so, I don't think so."

As we discussed at the time, the not-so-subtle implication was that Trump doesn't find one of his accusers physically attractive, so we shouldn't believe her claims of sexual assault.

A controversy ensued at the time, though Trump apparently learned nothing from it.