Michael Cohen, an executive vice president and special counsel to Trump’s organisation, said the heated nature of his conversation with The Daily Beast caused him to give “an inarticulate” statement, “which I apologise for entirely.”
“As an attorney, husband and father there are many injustices that offend me but nothing more than charges of rape or racism,” Cohen said in a statement to CNN.
He added: “They hit me at my core. Rarely am I surprised by the press, but the gall of this particular reporter to make such a reprehensible and false allegation against Mr. Trump truly stunned me. In my moment of shock and anger, I made an inarticulate comment — which I do not believe — and which I apologise for entirely.”
According to The Daily Beast, Trump’s ex-wife once described an encounter between the two as “rape” in a deposition during the couple’s divorce proceedings. She later clarified to say she didn’t mean the term in a “a literal or criminal sense.”
Cohen pushed back aggressively on the report. Among other things, The Daily Beast’s Tim Mak and Brandy Zadrozny quoted him threatening to sue their publication.
“You write a story that has Mr. Trump’s name in it, with the word ‘rape,’ and I’m going to mess your life up … for as long as you’re on this frickin’ planet … you’re going to have judgments against you, so much money, you’ll never know how to get out from underneath it,” Cohen reportedly said.
Cohen also reportedly told the publication, inaccurately, that marital rape isn’t possible by “the very definition.”
“You’re talking about the frontrunner for the GOP, presidential candidate, as well as a private individual who never raped anybody. And, of course, understand that by the very definition, you can’t rape your spouse,” he said, according to The Daily Beast. “You cannot rape your spouse. And there’s very clear case law.”
In addition to the Trump campaign’s pushback on the report as “old news,” Trump’s ex-wife also came to his defence. Ivana Trump, who reportedly made the “rape” comment during the 1990s divorce case, issued a statement to CNN saying the report “is totally without merit”:
“I have recently read some comments attributed to me from nearly 30 years ago at a time of very high tension during my divorce from Donald. The story is totally without merit. Donald and I are the best of friends and together have raised three children that we love and are very proud of. I have nothing but fondness for Donald and wish him the best of luck on his campaign. Incidentally, I think he would make an incredible president.”
For its part, The Daily Beast didn’t accept Cohen’s apology, and the outlet argued in an unsigned post Tuesday that his statement to CNN was too vague.
“Cohen did not say what statement he is referring to, nor that he was factually wrong in saying the law doesn’t recognise spousal rape, which it has since 1984 in New York, where the Trumps were married,” the outlet wrote. “Furthermore, Cohen did not apologise for calling Daily Beast reporter Tim Mak an ‘idiot,’ threatening to end his career, take ‘every penny,’ and do something ‘f — disgusting’ to him.”
Cohen and Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to requests from Business Insider for comment.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.