Donald Trump Threatens To Sue The 'New York Times' Because He Can't Handle Conflict In Any Other Way
The New York Times reported allegations that Donald Trump assaulted two women. Unsurprisingly, he emphatically denied it, shouting to the Times reporter on the phone that she was "a disgusting human being." That's probably not the best way to respond to allegations of assaulting women. But regardless, Trump's response to the sexual assault allegations was pretty predictable: he said he's going to sue the Times.
A copy of the letter that Trump's lawyers sent the Times has already been posted on Twitter by a producer for NBC News, Frank Thorp V, and it shows he's moving forward with his past threats that he'll sue the media when they print something negative. His attorney asks for an immediate retraction or Trump will "pursue all available actions and remedies" — that's code for suing. And it shouldn't surprise you, because we all remember Trump threatening to sue others in the past because it's happened on too many occasions.
That's because threatening to sue is his solution to everything. It stretches back decades, but perhaps most memorably he threatened to sue Rosie O'Donnell during their Twitter war a few years ago. And the reasons for suing don't even always make sense: Back on the campaign trail during the primaries, he threatened to sue Ted Cruz for "not being a natural born citizen." And sometimes he even follows through. Last year he sued Univision in 2015 when they decided not to broadcast the Miss USA pageant; they settled earlier this year for an undisclosed sum. All in all, Trump has been named in about 3,500 lawsuits.
What's particularly clear is that he'd like to be able to sue news organizations more easily. Libel laws in the United States tend to favor the newspaper or TV channel more so than in places like England. Trump would like to change that. Back in February, Trump explained what he'd like to see when he's President:
One of the things I'm going to do if I win, and I hope we do and we're certainly leading. I'm going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We're going to open up those libel laws. So when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they're totally protected.
He's also threatened to sue papers and journalists as recently as a few weeks ago when the Times published three pages of his 1995 tax return. Then on, Wednesday, those threats came one step closer to reality when his lawyer contacted the Times.
The letter Thorp posted to Twitter is addressed to Dean Baquet, the editor of the paper, and is regarding a "Demand for Retraction." The attorney, Marc E. Kasowitz, identifies himself as Trump's counsel and references the article in question, "Two Women Say Donald Trump Touched Them Inappropriately." Then he goes on the attack:
Your article is reckless, defamatory, and constitutes libel per se. It is apparent from, among other things, the timing of the article, that it is nothing more than a politically-motivated effort to defeat Mr. Trump's candidacy. That is why you apparently performed an entirely inadequate investigation to test the veracity of these false and malicious allegations, including why these two individuals waited, in one case, 11 years, and, in another case, more than three decades before coming forward with these false and defamatory statements.
And it is true that neither women reported the alleged assaults at the time. But as they explain in the piece, after the tape leaked Friday in which Trump bragged about sexual assault, which was quickly followed by Trump's assertion at the debate that he had done no such thing — that he hadn't groped or kissed women without consent — they decided to talk to the media.
One woman said she was groped on a plane. The other claimed she was kissed in Trump Tower. Their families back them up. It doesn't sound like an inadequate investigation at all, especially when the allegations are against someone who has already bragged about this same exact behavior on tape.
Now the only question is whether Trump will sue these two women too, or if threatening the Times is enough for him.