A lawyer for Donald Trump apologized on Tuesday for suggesting in an interview that husbands can’t legally rape their wives. The comment came as Michael Cohen defended Trump against an old rape allegation.
The interview was published Monday by The Daily Beast. The website wrote how Trump’s first wife, Ivana, used the word “rape” to describe a 1989 incident between her and the Republican presidential candidate in a deposition she gave during their divorce case.
The story recounts a violent scene described in former Newsweek reporter Harry Hurt III’s 1993 book, “Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump.” Trump denied the rape allegation years ago.
“You’re talking about the frontrunner for the GOP, presidential candidate, as well as a private individual who never raped anybody,” Cohen, special counsel to The Trump Organization, told The Daily Beast.
“And, of course, understand that by the very definition, you can’t rape your spouse. ... And there’s very clear case law.”
Marital rape is, in fact, illegal in all 50 states and has been since July 1993. Anyone, including spouses, can be victims of rape and are entitled to the same services and assistance as other sexual assault victims, according to the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence.
“As an attorney, husband and father there are many injustices that offend me but nothing more than charges of rape or racism. They hit me at my core,” Cohen said in a statement to CNN.
“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,”
Ivana Trump, the mother of Trump’s three oldest children, also issued a statement blasting The Daily Beast’s story. She walked back the “rape” comment herself in a statement as “Lost Tycoon” was published, saying she did not want her words to be taken literally or in a “criminal sense.”
“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,” she said.
“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.”