President Donald Trump has denied Elle magazine advice columnist E. Jean Carroll's claim that he sexually assaulted her in the 1990s, telling reporters that he has "no idea who this woman is" and insisting that the alleged encounter never happened.
"It's a totally false accusation," Trump said Saturday, one day after New York magazine published an excerpt from Carroll's upcoming memoir, "What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal."
>> Read the excerpt here (WARNING: Graphic content. Discretion advised.)
In the excerpt, titled "Hideous Men," Carroll, 76, said the alleged assault happened after she ran into Trump at New York's Bergdorf Goodman department store in fall 1995 or spring 1996. She said Trump asked her to help him pick out lingerie for someone. The pair found a bodysuit, joked about trying it on and headed toward the dressing room, she continued, adding that she did not see an attendant in the area.
"The moment the dressing-room door is closed, he lunges at me, pushes me against the wall, hitting my head quite badly, and puts his mouth against my lips," Carroll wrote.
Trump then pulled down her tights and sexually assaulted her, she claimed.
Carroll said she never reported the alleged incident to police but did tell two friends, who were journalists. New York magazine said those friends, who were not named, confirmed that Carroll had spoken to them about the alleged encounter shortly afterward. The New York Times also independently confirmed that she had told the story to the two friends.
Bergdorf Goodman said it does not have surveillance footage from the period, New York magazine reported.
On Friday, the White House issued a statement denying Carroll's claim.
"I've never met this person in my life," Trump said in the statement. "She is trying to sell a new book – that should indicate her motivation. It should be sold in the fiction section."
The statement continued: “No pictures? No surveillance? No video? No reports? No sales attendants around?? I would like to thank Bergdorf Goodman for confirming they have no video footage of any such incident, because it never happened,” Trump said.
Although Trump claimed that he doesn't know Carroll, the New York magazine story included a 1987 photo of Carroll and Trump with their former spouses, Ivana Trump and John Johnson.
When asked about the image Saturday, the president told reporters: "Give me a break."
"I have absolutely no idea who she is," he said Saturday, according to the Times. "There's some picture where we're shaking hands. It looks like at some kind of event. I have my coat on. I have my wife standing next to me."
Carroll also accused former CBS CEO Les Moonves of sexually assaulting her in 1997. He "emphatically denies" the allegations, New York magazine reported.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report.