Sneering at people could be Trump’s downfall

The last witness for E. Jean Carroll in her rape and assault case against Trump is a close friend of hers (Carol Martin) who testified that Carroll had told her about her experience at the hands of Trump just two days after the attack but that she had advised her not to go to the police because Trump would bury her with lawyers.

Donald Trump loves to sneer at and belittle people. It is the sign of a petty and insecure person and a bully, and in his case it could lead to his downfall. Although he has not appeared as a witness in the trial, the video recording of his deposition was played and it featured something that could hurt his case.

Trump seems to think that his sneering statement that Carroll “was not my type”, something that he has said at public meetings and in his deposition, would be a good defense against the assault charge. The catch is that when shown a photograph from long ago with Carroll and another man and woman and asked to identify them, he identified the woman facing the camera (Carroll) as his then-wife Marla Maples, even though it was the other woman who was Maples. So much for Carroll ‘not being his type’. he could have simply said that he had never met her. But no, he had to sneer that she was not his type. He just cannot help being a jerk.

The picture featured Carroll, Trump and their spouses of the time. The former president looked at Carroll in the photograph and mistook her for his second wife, Marla Maples.

“That’s Marla. Yeah, that’s my wife,” he said.

Carroll’s lawyer pointed out that it was her client.

Trump replied: “It’s very blurry.”

The former president repeated his assertion that Carroll was “not my type”. He said the same about another witness, Jessica Leeds, who has testified that Trump sexually assaulted her on a plane in 1979. Then he said the same, unprompted, about Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan.

“You wouldn’t be a choice of mine either, to be honest. I hope you’re not offended,” he told the lawyer.

He also accused Kaplan of being a “political operative” against him.

You can watch the video of it.

Apart from the sneering and everything else, does he think that it is a defense of assault to say that a woman “is not my type”? Rape and sexual assault are usually about assertions of power. They are not romantic encounters.

It appears that Trump’s lawyers are not going to present any witnesses of their own. His lawyer said that they had hoped to call a ‘technical witness’ but the witness was too sick to testify. I have no idea what that was about. Trump himself has said that he was going to appear in court to confront Carroll. The judge has allowed until 5:00pm Sunday evening (Eastern time) for his lawyer to submit a request that he be allowed to testify but his lawyer has said that he did not expect him to testify. I too do not expect him to testify. Trump likes to talk tough and belittle others but those are the marks of a coward and I do not expect him to have the guts put himself through a public cross-examination when he has so much awful behavior to answer for. His talk is just his usual bluster. Unless Trump is allowed to testify at the last minute, closing arguments will be held on Monday and the jury will retire to consider their verdict on Tuesday.

Without any defense testimony, his lawyers will have to depend on trying to make the case that four, now elderly, women, are colluding to lie about Trump. Will the jury buy that argument and find him not guilty? These cases are hard to predict at the best of times but with a former president being the accused, that makes it even harder.

The worlds of Carroll and the nine jurors who are being asked to reach the unprecedented conclusion that a former, and possibly future, president is a rapist are unlikely to have collided. The six men and three women mostly hold blue-collar jobs. Four are Black, including a west African immigrant.

If Trump is found guilty, that will not just be a vindication for Carroll who has testified that since the assault her life was ruined and that she has not been able to have sex and indeed any kind of serious relationships with men, it would also be a political earthquake.

Trump’s lawyers will undoubtedly appeal the verdict but appeals are not meant to re-assess the facts of a case but to see if there are constitutional and procedural grounds to overthrow the jury’s verdict. I think that the lawyer Joe Tacopina preemptively laid the grounds for an appeal by calling for a mistrial on the grounds of “pervasive unfair and prejudicial rulings by the Court”. The judge Lewis Kaplan dismissed the motion.

A measure of how low we have sunk in our expectations of public officials can be seen in the headline of an Associated Press article that said “Trump is accused in court of rape. Will it matter in 2024?”

It is true that an accusation is not a conviction and there is a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. But a plausible case has been made, given Trump’s long and ugly history of the treatment of women, that Trump is guilty. That should normally be enough to sink anyone’s political career. But in the post-truth, post-ethics, post-moral world that Trump and his followers live in, that is no longer a sure thing.


  1. says

    It is true that an accusation is not a conviction and there is a presumption of innocence until proven guilty

    In a lot of Trumpian misdeeds, “I did not do it” is not the defense -- Trump has offered shifting affirmative defenses. So, there is no presumption of innocence; the question revolves around interpretations of legal procedures. In the E Jean Carrol case, he denies the rape but has not contested the defamation. In other words he has already lost.

    It’s shameful that Garland has continued to kick the can down the road. It’s not as though he is waiting for Trump to ask for more rope with which to hang himself -- Trump has cornered the rope supply.

  2. says

    “She’s not my type”

    This aligns with the trope that rape is due to a man being filled with uncontrollable lust, which, ultimately, is the fault of the woman (i.e., “she was asking for it”). Yeah, no. It’s an act of violence and power projection. But to people who believe the former, “she’s not my type” is a credible defense because, clearly, the accused would not be filled with uncontrollable lust, and therefore could not have committed the rape.

  3. sonofrojblake says

    does he think that it is a defense of assault to say that a woman “is not my type”?

    But he’s not accused of assault. He’s accused of rape. Specifically, he’s been extremely explicitly accused of inserting his erect penis into a woman’s vagina. Now, it may not be politically correct to observe this, but here goes: while Trump’s phrasing is odious, the point he makes has at least some logic behind it. A successfully completed rape by definition requires the perpetrator to achieve and maintain an erection. There wouldn’t be a market for Viagra, one of the most successful drugs ever produced, if it weren’t a common experience for men to fail to do so with consenting women whom they find attractive. It seems unbelievable that anyone, male or female, who’s ever been sexually active would not know this perfectly well.

    Now: it’s clear that Trump is lying with the “she’s not my type” line, having mistaken of a photo of her for a woman who was enough his type that he married her. Regardless of that fact, it seems naive or disingenuous to express such complete bafflement at the “not my type” defence.

  4. Mano Singham says


    I think you are mistaken that in order to get an erection there must always be sexual attraction. For some men, it is the prospect of assault and rape that serves as an aphrodisiac. Take this passage from a study of rape:

    The act of rape involves not only the physical violation of another body, but an attempt to secure total control and dominance. What many rapists are seeking is a sense of their own power, their ability to subordinate another to their will. Sensing fear in their victims can serve as an aphrodisiac, an indication that their mastery of the situation is being achieved. Most rapists need no other weapon to secure victim compliance. (p. 35)

  5. ardipithecus says

    The rapist’s ‘type’ is ‘vulnerable’. Beauty, clothing, age are secondary.

  6. Silentbob says

    Shorter sonofrojblake:

    “It’s not politically correct but I think it should be a defense against rape to say the victim’s an ugly bitch.”

    I thought assholes like you had retired “politically correct” for “woke”?

    Anyway, we await sonofrojblake’s genius explanation of straight male prison rape.

  7. Pierce R. Butler says

    … but with a former president being the accused, that makes it even harder.

    From Charlie Sykes at The Bulwark (paywalled; I found the quote at

    It is hard impossible to imagine that someone with more than two dozen accusations of sexual assault would be able to survive in any other realm of American society: business, entertainment, sports, the military, even politics.

    We save our lowest standards for the presidency.

  8. sonofrojblake says

    It’s amazing to me how obtuse people can be.

    @7, Silentbob:
    Shorter Silentbob: “sonofrojblake inconveniently didn’t say he thinks the “not my type” defence is valid, but I want him to look bad so I’m just going to lie and say he did.”

    @9, Silentbob:
    Shorter Silentbob: “look at her -- she’s gorgeous”.

    I didn’t say Carroll was repulsive. TRUMP said that, and I stated, clearly, that that is obviously a lie (i.e., regardless of my (or your) opinion of her attractiveness, she clearly IS “his type”). Really, you should improve your reading comprehension before trying to get into conversation with people for whom English is a first language.

    Also, well done for posting a link to the photo that’s already clearly visible as the thumbnail for the video in the original post. An external link to an identical copy of that same image is a valuable addition to the thread, good on you.

    It’s depressing that I have to do this, but for the benefit of Silentbob and other hard-of-thinking persons who may be rage-reading this: the “not my type” defence is not valid and should not be. However, it’s not some cosmic mystery why someone might suggest that it is.

    you are mistaken that in order to get an erection there must always be sexual attraction. For some men, it is the prospect of assault and rape that serves as an aphrodisiac

    I’m actually happy in this case about my generalised difficulty putting myself in the position of others. Content note for too much information: in my ~40 years of sexual activity, I’ve found only two things give me an erection -- waking up in the morning, or (in the right circumstances) a woman I find attractive. Literally nothing else has that effect. If that’s not true for you, well, lucky you. I therefore cannot understand the “power” turnon on anything other than a dry intellectual level, any more than I could understand someone being turned on by any other paraphilia (e.g. foot fetishists).

  9. sonofrojblake says

    While I’m at it, here’s another thing I think that wouldn’t be popular: rape trial juries should contain only women, and further than that, only women who’ve had, arbitrarily, no fewer than ten sexual partners. I say this because as a man with no paraphilias I’m aware of and experience of consenting sex with more than ten partners, I’m aware of how hilariously awkward it can be having sex even with an enthusiastically consenting partner. Despite clear intellectual appreciation of the fact that it definitely happens, it’s nevertheless difficult to imagine how one man can physically achieve the act with a woman who’s not into it. (Although the knowledge of a paraphilia of power makes it easier.) I’d exclude the relatively sexually inexperienced in order to remove from consideration for jury duty the sorts of people who’d conceivably think along the lines of “she’s a slut/she was asking for it” or whatever, something some women definitely think.

    I can’t imagine this proposal would be popular, but I can’t help thinking it would significantly increase the conviction rate without proportionately increasing the wrongful conviction rate. It might even increase the rate of reporting and conversion from report to charge and trial, if victims knew their jury would be all-female.

  10. lanir says

    I think the whole thing with people giving the “not my type” response is being terribly self-centered. So much so it doesn’t even occur to them to protest that they didn’t do the action they’re accused of like any normal person would. Actions are something other people can experience. Nope, their argument is entirely inside their own head. And of course it’s designed to insult the other person while placing the speaker on some kind of pedestal like their feelings are the most important consideration, even when talking about very serious harm to another person.

    It seems like a very Trumpy thing to do.

  11. lanir says

    @sonofrojblake: You’re kind of just whipping out stereotypes here. Sexual attraction is a very diverse thing. It’s everything from asexual (with lots of variations) to the fairly common opposite and same sex attractions. And tons of niches and kinks along the way. And even though the power-based attraction is associated with rape, there are kinks and ways to responsibly feed that appetite without doing anything immoral (in other words, sticking to consensual activities).

    I think for most people (if not everyone), many of these options wouldn’t really do it for them and might even go against the grain. But when you start going with stereotypes and making assumptions… Well, my personal experience has been that you will be surprised. And you can end up learning a whole lot in a very short amount of time. In my case this was mostly fun and interesting but if you’re depending on those stereotypes such as with women juries or that a rapist requires a conventional to a victim that isn’t power-based, I think you’d end up being disappointed. There’s too much variety out there for simple answers so our generic approach that doesn’t take attraction into account is probably the best option we’ll ever manage.

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