Stop me if you’ve heard this story before – a woman comes forward to publicly speak of an alleged sexual assault that happened over twenty years ago, and her timing is likely intended to affect a political campaign. This story is one that involved an ex-model and President Trump back in 1997 at the U.S. Open.
It’s probably just a coincidence that we are only 47 days out from the November 3 presidential election, right? As I often say, there are no coincidences in politics. An exclusive story broke online Thursday morning from The Guardian, the left-wing British daily newspaper, about Amy Dorris, a former model and her claim of sexual assault by Trump. The Guardian story alleges that Trump assaulted her outside the bathroom in his VIP box at the U.S. Open in New York on September 5, 1997. The timing of publishing this story is suspect, if you ask me because Dorris first told it to The Guardian “in confidence” 15 months ago. At that time, she was uncertain about going public. Why, then, did she tell her story to a newspaper? Of course, she was going to go public, she was just deciding when exactly to do so. What better time to maximize her 15 minutes of fame than to do so just 47 days before a presidential election? She’ll be interviewed by every television network in no time.
For background, Amy Dorris claims she and her then-boyfriend Jason Binn spent several days with Donald Trump in New York in September 1997. Binn told her at the time that Trump was his “best friend”. He was the founder of several luxury fashion and lifestyle magazines. Dorris was 24 years old at the time and Trump was 51, married to his second wife, Marla Maples. Dorris is 48 years old now and lives in Florida. The Guardian said she provided evidence to support her claim, “including her ticket to the US Open and six photos showing her with the real estate magnate over several days in New York.”
Dorris and Binn were among several friends Trump hosted in his VIP box. The restroom was hidden by a partition in the suite.
“He just shoved his tongue down my throat and I was pushing him off. And then that’s when his grip became tighter and his hands were very gropey and all over my butt, my breasts, my back, everything.
“I was in his grip, and I couldn’t get out of it,” she said, adding: “I don’t know what you call that when you’re sticking your tongue just down someone’s throat. But I pushed it out with my teeth. I was pushing it. And I think I might have hurt his tongue.”
She elaborated that at first, she thought Trump was waiting to use the restroom. Then when he allegedly grabbed her, she tried to stop him.
When she came out, she alleges, Trump was waiting outside. “Initially I thought that he was waiting to go to the bathroom, but that wasn’t the case, unfortunately,” she said. She alleges Trump forced himself on her after a brief exchange in which she recalls nervously laughing and telling him: “No, get away.”
She alleged she told Trump “no, please stop” but “he didn’t care”. “It doesn’t matter who you are,” she said. “Any time anyone says no, no means no. And that just didn’t work out for me. It wasn’t enough.”
“I just kind of was in shock,” she added. “I felt violated, obviously. But I still wasn’t processing it and just was trying to go back to talking to everyone and having a good time because, I don’t know, I felt pressured to be that way.”
So, after all that, why did she continue to socialize with Trump and, as it turned out, various celebrities over the course of several days? She said at the time she told Binn about the alleged assault and said, “He’s all over me. I can’t deal with this. You have to do something.” Now, Binn claims he does not remember any such incident. Trump’s attorneys deny the allegation and say that Binn told them he has no recollection of her telling him such a story. She says she phoned a friend that lived in NYC to tell her about it. “I think I just felt safe knowing that I had someone in New York that I could go to, God forbid it got worse,” she said.
The next day she and Binn returned to the U.S. Open and were again in Trump’s suite. She said Trump didn’t assault her again but did continue to pursue her.
The day after the alleged assault, Dorris and Binn returned to Trump’s box at the US Open. Dorris said she decided to wear a “conservative” outfit of khakis, a blue knit sweater and loafers in an effort to discourage further advances from Trump.
The couple stopped off at Trump’s apartment in Trump Tower on the way, where they posed for photographs with celebrities who were also visiting the real estate tycoon before attending the tennis, including the musicians Lenny Kravitz and Sean Combs, AKA Puff Daddy.
Dorris said Trump continued to pursue her, asking questions such as: “Could you see yourself living here?” “It didn’t matter that I changed my clothes, it was still the same situation,” she said. “I didn’t feel like myself that second day at all. It did feel like something was taken away.”
Later they were joined in Trump’s box by more VIP guests, including Leonardo DiCaprio and the illusionist David Blaine, with whom they posed for photographs. DiCaprio, Blaine, Kravitz and Combs did not respond to requests for comment.
On September 8, she attended a memorial service for Gianni Versace with Binn and Trump. Maybe she was just caught up in the opportunity to hang with celebrities and a well-known public figure in New York. She was in New York from Florida with her boyfriend, Binn, and going from event to event for several days and it was overwhelming. Dorris says she didn’t fully process the alleged assault until years later.
Trump’s lawyers say her story doesn’t hold up because others would have witnessed the alleged attack. The lawyers question why she chose to sit next to Trump at the Versace memorial instead of on the other side of Binn. They also question why she never made a formal complaint with police, yet now comes forward so close to the election. That is a legit question.
Why didn’t she come forward in 2016? She said she thought about it but decided against it because she felt it would be too disruptive to her family. Now, she says, her daughters are older – in their teens – and she wants them to know that Trump’s behavior was wrong and shouldn’t be accepted as acceptable behavior. She wants to be a role model.
The end of The Guardian’s piece tips her hand, though. It’s a politically-motivated attack. “This man is our president.”
“When you invade someone’s space, it doesn’t matter if you were raped, it’s sexual assault, and it’s not OK,” she said. “You don’t touch someone unless they want to be touched. And I did nothing to encourage him to touch me.”
Dorris said she was also frustrated to hear Trump’s many other accusers being accused themselves of lying. “I’m sick of him getting away with this,” she said. “I’m tired of being quiet. It’s kind of cathartic. I just want to get this out. And I want people to know that this is the man, this is our president. This is the kind of thing he does and it’s unacceptable.”
Perhaps she didn’t think Trump would win in 2016 and didn’t want to be scrutinized back then. Now, though, is too late. Others have tried to tell stories about alleged assaults and other inappropriate behavior but none of them have moved the needle against Trump. These stories are baked in the cake – voters know him and his supporters move past the stories. His opponents try to play the stories up and fail to convince anyone to vote for the other person, in this case, Biden. If that Access Hollywood story didn’t tank his candidacy in 2016, none of these stories will make any difference. This early October surprise of a story will just be another blip in the news cycle.