WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Monday that a New York-based advice columnist who has accused him of sexually assaulting her in a New York City department store in the mid-1990s is not his "type."
"I'll say it with great respect: Number one, she's not my type. Number two, it never happened," Trump told The Hill in an interview at the White House.
Writer E. Jean Carroll has claimed that a friendly encounter with Trump at Bergdorf Goodman in 1995 or 1996 turned violent when the real estate mogul pushed her up against a dressing room wall, unzipped his pants and forced himself on her. Carroll said that, in a "colossal struggle," she pushed him off and ran from the store.
Trump told The Hill that Carroll is "totally lying" about the accusation, which he has earlier denied. "I know nothing about this woman. I know nothing about her," he said. "She is — it's just a terrible thing that people can make statements like that."
The allegation against Trump is included in Carroll's upcoming book about the "hideous men" the Elle magazine columnist says she has encountered throughout her life. Trump also accused New York magazine of publishing Carroll's claims against him and others to boost its readership.
Carroll told CNN's Anderson Cooper later Monday that she's glad Trump doesn't consider her his type. "I love that," she said. "I'm so glad I am not his type."
Carroll, now 75, wrote in her book excerpt on the magazine's website that Trump recognized her as "that advice lady" as he arrived at the Fifth Avenue store just as she was leaving. She said Trump invited her to help him buy a present for an unidentified woman and she agreed.
Carroll said that after they looked around, Trump suggested lingerie and they headed up an escalator to that department. There, he grabbed a see-through bodysuit and urged her to try it on.
After some joking around about which one of them should try it on, Trump led Carroll to a dressing room. She said he pushed her against a wall, pulled down her tights and assaulted her in an episode that lasted under three minutes.
"The minute I was in there, he shut the door and pushed me up against the wall and banged my head on the wall and kissed me," she said on CNN.
"Down go the tights. And it was against my will and it hurt."
Carroll said there were no attendants in the dressing room area and she did not file a report with the New York Police Department. She said she did, however, tell two journalist friends, one of whom urged her to contact the police while the other advised her to keep quiet, citing Trump's access to lawyers.
"I wanted to forget it," she said. "I thought A, my fault. B, I was stupid. C, I didn't think of it ... as rape. I thought of it as a violent incident. I thought of it as a fight."
New York magazine said it confirmed the accounts of Carroll's friends, but it did not identify them by name. The Associated Press has not independently verified Carroll's account.
She said she initially was "thrilled" that Trump had asked for her help to buy a gift, but said she was stupid to go into a dressing room with him.
"I always think back and think that was the stupidest thing I've ever done," she said. "I should never have done it. It was just a dumb thing to go into a dressing room with a man that I hardly know."
During the 2016 presidential campaign, more than a dozen women accused Trump of sexual misconduct in earlier years. Trump has denied the allegations and said the women are lying. While those cases generally involved groping and kissing without consent, Carroll alleged forced penetration.
The "not my type" remark isn't the first time Trump has disparaged the appearance of an accuser.
In 2016, after a former magazine writer accused Trump of assaulting her in 2005, he responded: "She lies! Look at her, I don't think so."
And when another woman claimed Trump groped her on an airplane in the early 1980s, he said, "Believe me — she would not be my first choice."
Trump was caught boasting on tape in 2005 about grabbing women by their genitals and kissing them without permission. When the tape became public weeks before the November 2016 general election, Trump said he never acted in any of the ways described on the tape, and said it was just "locker-room talk."
In March, a New York state appeals court ruled that Summer Zervos, a former contestant on Trump's reality TV show "The Apprentice" who accused him of unwanted kissing and groping, can move forward with her defamation lawsuit against him.