Documenting Trump’s Abuse of Women
Fact-checked by Snopes: Mixture of true and false
When the news broke that Donald Trump had been caught on video in 2005 boasting that, as a celebrity, he feels free to grab women by the pussy, Harry Hurt III experienced a sense of vindication. In 1993, Hurt published Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump, an unauthorized biography that has long been out of print. The day the tape surfaced, he was hitting golf balls at a driving range in Sagaponack, New York, when a text message arrived from a friend: Donald is done! After Hurt watched the tape, he said, I thought, Finally, this behavior is coming out. But he doubted that the revelation would do any real damage to Trumps campaign. Researching his book, in the early nineties, Hurt discovered and documented more serious instances of Trumps mistreatment of women, yet most news outlets had declined to report on them. Even during the current campaign, Hurt said, Ive been a voice in the wilderness. When Lost Tycoon was published, Kirkus Reviews credited Hurt, a former contributing editor at Texas Monthly , with having written a slick, informed account. The Times ignored it. Trump denounced it, and last year, in a tweet, he called Hurt a dummy dope who wrote a failed book. The part of the book that caused the most controversy concerns Trumps divorce from his first wife, Ivana. Hurt obtained a copy of her sworn divorce deposition, from 1990, in which she stated that, the previous year, her husband had raped her in a fit of rage. In Hurts account, Trump was furious that a scalp reduction operation hed undergone to eliminate a bald spot had been unexpectedly painful. Ivana had recommended the plastic surgeon. In retaliation, Hurt wrote, Trump yanked out a handful of his wifes hair, and then forced himself on her sexually. Afterward, according to the book, she spent the night locked in a bedroom, crying; in the morning, Trump asked her, with menacing casualness, Does it hurt? Trump has denied both the rape allegation and the suggestion that he had a scalp-reduction procedure. Hurt said that the incident, which is detailed in Ivanas deposition, was confirmed by two of her friends. Hurt held on to his copy of Ivanas sealed deposition for years. It was sworn testimony, he said. But eventually, when he was cleaning house during his own divorce, he said, I threw it all out. He went on, The larger tragedy is that Trump might be elected President of the United States. I never imagined in my wildest nightmares that it would come to this. Before Hurts book came out, Trumps lawyers pressured the publisher, W. W. Norton, to paste a clarifying statement from Ivana into the flyleaf of every copy. In it, she confirmed that she had said in a deposition that her husband had raped her, but added that she did not want those words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense. She also said, As a woman, I felt violated. Hurt said that he considers the note a non-denial denial, and believes that Ivana agreed to amend her words in order to secure the divorce settlement, in which she reportedly received fourteen million dollars in cash. When the rape story resurfaced last summer, Ivana issued a statement saying that it was without merit. She and Donald have raised three kids together. Theyre picking their bedrooms in the White House, Hurt said. But shes not saying its untrue, or that she didnt swear to it under oath. Trump was deposed during the divorce, too. According to a report by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, which examined the divorce records, Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination approximately a hundred times when Ivanas lawyers asked him about adulterous relations with other women. Lost Tycoon didnt sell well. It came out at a time when Trumps businesses were faltering, and interest in him had waned. But this spring, when Trump was one of three Republican Presidential candidates still in the race, Hurt asked Norton to reissue the book. Word came back that the publishers lawyers had deemed the book too dangerous to publish. (Norton said it had made a business decision.) Hurt decided to scan the book and reissue it himself online. When a reporter for the Daily Beast began making calls about the rape allegation, Michael Cohen, a Trump lawyer, told him, You write a story that has Mr. Trumps name in it and the word rape, and Im going to mess your life up . . . for as long as youre on this frickin planet. After that, Hurt said, CNN booked him four times, but kept cancelling. The only TV host to have him on the air to talk about the rape allegation was Megyn Kelly, at Fox News. Hurt finally made it onto CNN last week, after ten more women had come forward to accuse Trump of violating them. I applaud their courage, he said, and thank them for telling the truth under what must be painful and embarrassing circumstances. Recalling the second debate, in which Trump insisted that his locker-room talk was only talk and not action, Hurt said, He was lying. I know full well he has done that. His own wife said so, under oath.