How Donald Trump Behaved With Women in Private

The New York Times published a story with the headline “Crossing the Line: How Donald Trump Behaved With Women in Private” where the authors conducted more than 50 interviews over the course of six weeks.

Their accounts, many relayed in their own words, revealed unwelcome romantic advances, unending commentary on the female form, a shrewd reliance on ambitious women, and unsettling workplace conduct, according to the interviews, as well as court records and written recollections. The interactions occurred in his offices at Trump Tower, at his homes, at construction sites and backstage at beauty pageants. They appeared to be fleeting, unimportant moments to him, but they left lasting impressions on the women who experienced them.

  • Rowanne Brewer Lane, Companion: Donald J. Trump had barely met her when he asked her to change out of her clothes. “He took me into a room and opened drawers and asked me to put on a swimsuit.” Trump then took Brewer Lane out to parade her in front of the rest of the party and asked the crowd if they thought she was a beautiful “Trump lady” which she was taken aback by it. It did not take long for him to solicit her view on the attractiveness of two of his previous romantic partners, Marla Maples and Ivana Trump. “He did ask me, on a scale of 1 to 10, what I thought of Marla. I thought that was very boyish of him. He asked me the same thing about Ivana. I said, obviously, she is your wife. (Trump was divorcing Ivana at the time.) A beautiful woman. What could you say but a 10? I am not going to judge your wife.”
  • Ivana Trump, Ex-Wife: An anecdote how, when she was his girlfriend at the time, Donald Trump defended his father Fred Trump when the elder Trump told her what she is having for dinner. Trump let her run Trump’s Castle, a major casino in Atlantic City, and the Plaza Hotel, the storied complex on Central Park South in Manhattan. She ran it well but he compensated her as a spouse, not a high-level employee, paying her an annual salary of $1 for the Trump’s Castle job, according to her tax documents.
  • Barbara A. Res, Executive for the Trump Organization: Donald Trump hired Ms. Res to manage the building of Trump Tower. He said: “I know you’re a woman in a man’s world. And while men tend to be better than women, a good woman is better than 10 good men.” … He thought he was really complimenting me. Fred Trump did not like the idea that Donald Trump had hired a woman for an executive position but Donald Trump defended her. However his misogyny would still be on display. Out of the blue Donald Trump evaluated the fitness of women in Marina del Rey, Calif. “They take care of their asses,” he said. Years later, after she had gained a significant amount of weight, Ms. Res endured a stinging workplace observation about her own body from Mr. Trump. “ ‘You like your candy,’ ” she recalled him telling her. “It was him reminding me that I was overweight.” Later when The New York Post feasted on his wife’s supposed satisfaction with him in bed, captured in the headline “Best Sex I’ve Ever Had,” Mr. Trump was unabashed. Trump loved it and would show the paper to everyone in the office, much to their horror. Trump also interacted with women with an unthinkable habit of making them feel small.  “At Trump Tower he called me Honey Bunch.”
  • Louise Sunshine, Executive Vice President for the Trump Organization: Experienced similar observations from Mr. Trump when she gained weight. But she saw it as friendly encouragement, not a cruel insult. “He thought I looked much better thin,” she said. “He would remind me of how beautiful I was.”
  • Temple Taggart, 1997 Miss Utah: Donald Trump, while married to Marla Maples, introduced himself to her as well as other contestants in the Miss Universe Pageant with a direct kiss on the lips. “Oh my God, gross.” He then kissed her again on the lips in Trump Tower. “ ‘We’re going to have to tell them you’re 17,’ ” Ms. Taggart recalled him telling her, “because in his mind, 21 is too old. I was like, ‘No, we’re not going to do that.’ ”
  • Carrie Prejean, 2009 Miss California: Mr. Trump personally would evaluate the women contestants at rehearsal. It became clear that the point of the whole exercise was for him to divide the room between girls he personally found attractive and those he did not. Many of the girls found the exercise humiliating. Some of the girls were sobbing backstage after he left, devastated to have failed even before the competition really began to impress “The Donald.”
  • Brook Antoinette Mahealani Lee, 1997 Miss Universe: During the 1997 Miss Teen USA pageant, he sat in the audience as his teenage daughter, Ivanka, helped to host the event from onstage. “ ‘Don’t you think my daughter’s hot? She’s hot, right?’ ” Ms. Lee recalled him saying. ‘I was like, ‘Really?’ That’s just weird. She was 16. That’s creepy.”
  • Barbara J. Fife, former New York City Deputy Mayor: Trump told her why he was in such a hurry one day as he sat in her office at City Hall. “I have this great date tonight with a model for Victoria’s Secret,” Ms. Fife recalled him telling her. “I saw it as immature, quite honestly,” she said.
  • Alair A. Townsend, former New York City Deputy Mayor: “[Trump] was dismissive. It was always, “Hon,” “Dear.” Things he wouldn’t have said to a man. It was designed to make you feel small. And he did that repeatedly.”
  • Jill Harth, former pageant promoter: Jill Harth and her boyfriend at the time, George Houraney, worked with Mr. Trump on a beauty pageant in Atlantic City, and later accused Mr. Trump of inappropriate behavior toward Ms. Harth during their business dealings. In a 1996 deposition, Ms. Harth described their initial meeting with Mr. Trump at Trump Tower.Donald Trump stared at me throughout that meeting. He stared at me even while George was giving his presentation. … In the middle of it he says to George, “Are you sleeping with her?” Meaning me. And George looked a little shocked and he said, “Well, yeah.” And he goes, “Well, for the weekend or what?” Mr. Houraney said in a recent interview that he was shocked by Mr. Trump’s response after he made clear that he and Ms. Harth were monogamous. “He said: ‘Well, there’s always a first time. I am going after her,’ ” Mr. Houraney recalled, adding: “I thought the man was joking. I laughed. He said, ‘I am serious.’ ” By the time the three of them were having dinner at the Oak Room of the Plaza Hotel the next night, Mr. Trump’s advances had turned physical, Ms. Harth said in the deposition. “Basically he name-dropped throughout that dinner, when he wasn’t groping me under the table,” she testified. “Let me just say, this was a very traumatic thing working for him.”
  • Alicia Machado, 1996 Miss Universe: During her time as Miss Universe she gained weight, and Donald Trump did not keep his critique of her changing body quiet and he publicly shamed her. When going to a gym to take the weight off Donald Trump surprised her by showing up with 90 media outlets to document it. Near tears Ms. Machado declined to be a part of the media circus, but Donald Trump refused her request saying, “I don’t care.” After her humiliation she spent the past years fighting anorexia and bulimia.

The article does highlight how Mr. Trump did help women and how his office stood out for its diversity. For example Alan Lapidus, an influential architect who designed the Trump Plaza casino in Atlantic City is quoted:

He is a lot more complicated than the cartoon character. The top people in his company were women, like Barbara Res. For any company to hire a woman as chief of construction was actually startling. I don’t know of a single other developer who had a woman in that position. The respect for women was always there. That’s why, in spite of the comments he makes now — and God knows why he says these things — when he was building his empire, the backbone was women.


The New York Times reporters said there were “themes” that emerged, such as constant commentary on the female form, exploitation of ambitious women, unwanted advances, and physical aggression.

However one of the women featured in the article, Brewer Lane, appeared on Fox and Friends to dispute the Times’ framing of her account which opened up a whole can of worms. “Actually, it was very upsetting. I was not happy to read it at all,” Brewer Lane said. “Well, because The New York Times told us several times that they would make sure that my story that I was telling came across. They promised several times that they would do it accurately. They told me several times and my manager several times that it would not be a hit piece and that my story would come across the way that I was telling it and honestly, and it absolutely was not.”

But when asked what the reporters got wrong, Brewer Lane said they took her quotes and “put a negative connotation on it.”

Donald Trump then took to Twitter to claim that Rowanna Brewer Lane’s disagreement with the tone of how her story was presented now discounted the rest of the article.

The New York Times story is just not Rowanne Brewer Lane’s account of Trump in the 1990’s but the experience of 50 women who were interviewed for the article. If we can discount Brewer Lane’s story then that still leaves 49 women, 11 who were named, who had the same experience of misogyny from Donald Trump. Some of those women, such as Barbara Res, publicly supported the article and their portrayal in it.

Unless Donald Trump can prove that the remaining 49 subjects were also misrepresented, it is incorrect of him to declare the story was “proven false.”

This article does not cover the sexist comments made by Trump since announcing his campaign. Just a few examples include:

Leave a Reply