The Daily Beast’s Tim Mak and Brandon Zadrozny woke up on Tuesday to find that CNN completely embarrassed them. After publishing a more-than-1,700-word-long invective on Monday evening reprinting old and disproven allegations against GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump by his ex-wife—in divorce proceedings—Trump’s ex-wife herself came out with a statement to CNN standing by her ex-husband, and discrediting the liberal outlet’s hit piece which relied heavily on statements she made in divorce proceedings 30 years ago.
“I have recently read some comments attributed to me from nearly 30 years ago at a time of very high tension during my divorce from Donald. The story is totally without merit. Donald and I are the best of friends and together have raised three children that we love and are very proud of. I have nothing but fondness for Donald and wish him the best of luck on his campaign. Incidentally, I think he would make an incredible president,” Ivana Trump, Donald’s ex-wife, said in the statement to CNN.
Donald and Ivana Trump had three children together—Ivanka, Eric and Donald, Jr., Donald’s oldest children and now all officials at Trump’s company—three of Trump’s five children.
The embarrassing and quick putdown of the Daily Beast story comes just hours after the outlet ran a blistering headline falsely accusing him of rape: “Ex-Wife: Donald Trump Made Me Feel ‘Violated’ During Sex.”
The sub-headline of the inaccurate article was even worse, directly leveling the false rape allegation: “Ivana Trump once accused the real-estate tycoon of ‘rape,’ although she later clarified: not in the ‘criminal sense.’”
The way they justified dredging up the three-decade-old allegation from divorce proceeding transcript, which was again—per Ivana’s statement to CNN—clearly false?
“Donald Trump introduced his presidential campaign to the world with a slur against Mexican immigrants, accusing them of being ‘rapists’ and bringing crime into the country.” Mak and Zadrozny wrote as the lead of their article before delving into the lurid, old and disproven details. “‘I mean somebody’s doing it!… Who’s doing the raping?’ Donald Trump said, when asked to defend his characterization. It was an unfortunate turn of phrase for Trump—in more ways than one.”
From there, they delve into the old allegations: “Not only does the current frontrunner 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. She later said she felt ‘violated’ by the experience.”
The incident did come up in the divorce proceedings transcripts and was first reported on widely and publicly by former Texas Monthly and former Newsweek reporter Harry Hurt III in his 1993 book: “Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump.”
So, what did Mak and Zadrozny do? Bring the old story back up of course. Here’s an excerpt from Mak and Zadrozny describing Hurt’s book reporting on this from 1993:
After a painful scalp reduction surgery to remove a bald spot, Donald Trump confronted his then-wife, who had previously used the same plastic surgeon.
“Your fucking doctor has ruined me!” Trump cried.
What followed was a “violent assault,” according to Lost Tycoon. Donald held back Ivana’s arms and began to pull out fistfuls of hair from her scalp, as if to mirror the pain he felt from his own operation. He tore off her clothes and unzipped his pants.
“Then he jams his penis inside her for the first time in more than sixteen months. Ivana is terrified… It is a violent assault,” Hurt writes. “According to versions she repeats to some of her closest confidantes, ‘he raped me.’”
Following the incident, Ivana ran upstairs, hid behind a locked door, and remained there “crying for the rest of night.” When she returned to the master bedroom in the morning, he was there.
“As she looks in horror at the ripped-out hair scattered all over the bed, he glares at her and asks with menacing casualness: ‘Does it hurt?’” Hurt writes.
Of course, as Mak and Zadrozny noted, Donald Trump “has previously denied the allegation.”
“It’s obviously false,” Newsday reported Donald Trump said of the story in 1993. “It’s incorrect and done by a guy without much talent… He is a guy that is an unattractive guy who is a vindictive and jealous person.”
When Hurt’s book was about to be printed, Ivana Trump gave a statement to the author about the divorce proceeding transcripts: “During a deposition given by me in connection with my matrimonial case, I stated that my husband had raped me. [O]n one occasion during 1989, Mr. Trump and I had marital relations in which he behaved very differently toward me than he had during our marriage. As a woman, I felt violated, as the love and tenderness, which he normally exhibited towards me, was absent. I referred to this as a ‘rape,’ but I do not want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense.”
Again, people—leading up, during and shortly after—in divorce proceedings tend to stretch the truth. Quite a bit sometimes, since they’re so emotionally wrecked, and it’s quite clear that Ivana and Donald Trump’s situation was not outside the norm.
Before dredging back up the old allegation to make it again, Mak and Zadrozny didn’t obtain any new information for their story. They didn’t get a statement from Ivana Trump 30 years later standing by what she said back then (she has a cooler head now, surely, after jointly raising three very successful children with Donald).
What they did obtain was a feisty phone interview from a hot-headed lawyer, Michael Cohen, who works for Trump—and tried to vociferously defend him, sometimes a little colorfully. Cohen also incorrectly, in his effort to defend Trump, inaccurately said that a man can’t rape his wife. Back in 1984—before this falsely-alleged incident would have occurred if it did—New York changed its laws on that matter, and yes a man can rape his wife.
In an emailed statement to Breitbart News, Cohen explained why he reacted to viscerally–the reporters’ conduct, pushing a false rape accusation, was so ridiculous he reacted harshly. “I want to clarify a statement I made to the Daily Beast. As an attorney, husband and father there are many injustices that offend me but nothing more than charges of rape or racism,” Cohen said. “They hit me at my core. Rarely am I surprised by the press, but the gall of this particular reporter to make such a reprehensible and false allegation against Mr. Trump truly stunned me. In my moment of shock and anger, I made an inarticulate comment – which I do not believe – and which I apologize for entirely.”
But that being said, a hotheaded lawyer’s comments are nothing compared to the actual allegation being false—the real story—and so the question is why didn’t the Daily Beast even try to figure that out?
“This is an event that has been widely reported on in the past, it is old news and it never happened,” a Trump spokesperson told Breitbart News on Monday evening. “It is a standard lawyer technique, which was used to exploit more money from Mr. Trump especially since he had an ironclad prenuptial agreement. It is just a way for the badly failing and money losing Daily Beast, which has been reporting inaccurately on Mr. Trump for years, to get some publicity for itself.”
But, nonetheless, another media-driven failed attempt to take Trump down has taken place. And the attacks are clearly getting nastier as now they are falsely accusing him of rape. Can anyone smell yet another bump in the polls for Donald?
Dylan Byers, Politico’s media reporter, compared this phenomenon to the false allegations in the 2012 GOP primary against former House Speaker Newt Gingrich by his ex-wife.
“Three and a half years ago, on the eve of the Republican presidential primary debate in Charleston, South Carolina, news surfaced that Newt Gingrich’s ex-wife was about to unearth accusations of mistreatment against the former speaker — including that he had asked for an open marriage and later requested a divorce right after she was diagnosed with a serious illness,” Byers wrote on Tuesday morning. “Asked about the charges at the next night’s debate, Gingrich responded with a barn-burning counterattack against the media: ‘I think the destructive vicious negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office,’ Gingrich told CNN’s John King, to thunderous applause. ‘I’m appalled you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that.’
Two days later, Gingrich won the South Carolina primary with 40 percent of the vote.”
No wonder why Donald Trump is the frontrunner for the GOP primary in 2016.