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Trump unleashes unhinged tirade attacking his rape accuser

The former president again attacked E. Jean Carroll, claiming her rape and defamation case against “a famous, rich and political person” is disgraceful.

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E. Jean Carroll, the writer accusing former President Donald Trump of rape and defamation, has made no bones about the fact that Trump’s stature as a political figure is part of the reason she filed a lawsuit against him. Remember, Carroll only elected to sue Trump after his insulting public denials, in which he not only claimed Carroll was lying, but also suggested he wouldn’t have raped her because she is not his type.

Trump’s power and influence are obvious — arguably essential —pieces of evidence in support of Carroll’s claims that his statements harmed her. 

But in a tirade Thursday in Ireland, Trump seemed to suggest his perceived stature and political power are precisely what should insulate him from the rape and defamation trial now underway. 

Here are Trump’s remarks to reporters, captured by Sky News

Trump: I have to leave Ireland and I have to leave Scotland, where I have great properties. I have to leave early. I don’t have to, but I choose to. 

Reporter: Will you attend the trial, Mr. President?

Trump: I’ll probably attend, and I think it’s a disgrace. 

The clip then jumps to this part of the exchange:

Trump: It’s a disgrace that it’s allowed to happen. It’s called false accusations against a rich guy — or in my case, against a famous, rich and political person that’s leading the polls by 40 points. And I have to go back for a woman that made a false accusation about me, and I have a judge who’s extremely hostile. And I’m going to go back, and I’m going to confront this. This woman is a disgrace, and it shouldn’t be allowed to happen in our country. 

Rarely will you find a clearer distillation of a person’s perceived privilege than this.

It’s almost as if Trump thinks being rich and powerful ought to insulate him from accountability. Coming from the man who claimed that women are fine with unrequested fondling “when you’re a star,” this is on brand. 

And it implicitly supports claims from Carroll and others who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct: that he felt entitled because of who he was. (Trump has repeatedly denied the accusations.)

Trump’s remarks here indicate how, as my MSNBC colleague Lisa Rubin wrote this week, the #MeToo movement reverberates through the Carroll case.

Thus far, we’ve seen Trump’s legal team deploy efforts commonly used to discredit sexual assault victims, from questioning why she didn’t scream during the alleged rape to implying she was out for money. 

The judge in this case, Lewis Kaplan, has already condemned Trump for a social media post in which he called Carroll’s lawyer a “political operative” and said the case is “a made-up scam.”

Now, in the midst of this trial, Trump is back where this all started: maligning his accuser. Probably not a great legal strategy.