Bob Woodward’s forthcoming political blockbuster offers insight into President Trump’s alleged MO when it comes to allegations of sexual misconduct.
In an excerpt from Fear blasted across the Twitterisphere by Washington Post reporter Carlos Lozada, Woodward writes of an interaction between the president and “a friend who had acknowledged some bad behavior toward women.”
“You’ve got to deny, deny, deny and push back on these women,” the friend remembers Trump telling him. “If you admit to anything and any culpability, then you’re dead.”
Trump continued challenging his friend for how they handled their own Me Too reckoning, noting their “weakness” and lack of “aggressive” retaliation.
“That was a big mistake you made,” the president is reported to have said. “You didn’t come out guns blazing and just challenge them. You showed weakness. You’ve got to be strong. You’ve got to be aggressive. You’ve got to push back hard. You’ve got to deny anything that’s said about you. Never admit.”
The president has been accused of sexual misconduct by nineteen women in total. He has denied all allegations and attacked the accusers directly when their stories were published by media outlets.
Following The Washington Post‘s feature on Rachel Crooks—who claims the real estate mogul sexually assaulted her in one of his buildings in 2005—Trump took to Twitter to discredit her narrative.
“Another False Accusation,” wrote the president in February. “Why doesn’t @washingtonpost report the story of the women taking money to make up stories about me? One had her home mortgage paid off.”
Only in one instance has Trump fail to heed his own advice: During fallout from the release of the Access Hollywood tape.
“I’ve said and done things I regret and the words released today on this more than a decade old video are one of them,” said the then-presidential candidate after audio surfaced in which he appeared to encourage sexual assault. “I said it. I was wrong. And I apologize.”
Despite apologizing, Trump later questioned the authenticity of the tape, privately and in public. During Alabama’s Senate race between Democrat Doug Jones and accused Republican pedophile Roy Moore, the president reportedly called the tape inauthentic while expressing his sympathies for the latter candidate, according to The New York Times.
In an interview with The Daily Caller last week, the president said “there’s even questions about the tape, there’s many things going,” before threatening to sue NBC over the recording’s release.