How Trampolines Materialize for Trump

The Trump-du-jour item today is so bizarre that I can barely believe it.

Two Daily Beast reporters (Tim Mak and Brandy Zadrozny) ran across the fact that Ivana Trump had once accused her estranged husband of raping her (though she subsequently downgraded the charge to “violating” her) in a deposition made during divorce proceedings between the two. So said reporters called up Michael Cohen, who escaped from a gangster movie and serves as some sort of lawyer/advisor/consilgiere for The Donald, and asked him what was up with all that, and Cohen responded with (a) a lengthy and profane series of threats to the journalist involved to bury her or him in lawsuits and generally ruin his or her life if a story appeared that included Trump’s name and the word “rape;” and (b) repeated erroneous assertions that criminal liability for rape cannot exist with respect to a spouse (that used to be the case, but not anymore, and not in the relevant jurisdiction when the Trumps were divorced).

So risking their lives, the Beast team writes up its story (complete with what I hope is a complete, not partial, record of Cohen’s threats), and for a brief moment there, as with the incident involving Trump’s comments about John McCain’s war record, you thought the whole Trump campaign was about to be consumed in flames.

But almost immediately, (a) Ivana Trump came to her ex-husband’s defense, hinting that she might have exaggerated his bad behavior towards her in the heat of a divorce proceeding, and saying he’d be a great president, blah blah blah; and (b) some Trump spox disclaims any association with Cohen’s comments to the Beastly duo.

For dessert, somebody discovered an old tweet with Cohen posing between two “great Americans,” Hillary Clinton and Patrick Kennedy, and Trump fans are beginning to speculate that he tried to sabotate Trump on Hillary’s behalf!

So people get reminded that Trump’s wife at one time accused him of rape, or at least rapey behavior, and it gets turned into a story (in the minds of Trump’s followers, any way) about one a them gold-digging women who make up rape allegations they later abandon, and the lyin’ liberal loser journalists–perhaps in league with Hillary!–who use that to smear The Donald. The whole thing is absolute catnip for entertainment TV, and as a bonus, the word gets sent out that there’s this psychotic thug of a lawyer waiting to pounce on any journalist who talks smack about The Boss.

It’s all kind of an insta-microcosm of the entire Trump campaign, isn’t it?

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.