On Oct. 12, the New York Times published the story of two women who claimed they were touched inappropriately by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. One accused Trump of groping her on an airplane in the 1980s; the other said she was forcibly kissed on the mouth by Trump in 2005.
Trump himself called the story a “total fabrication” and, in a letter sent by his lawyer Marc Kasowitz, he reportedly threatened to sue the publication for libel shortly after the article was published.
New York Times lawyer David McCraw responded quickly, in a letter that was shared on social media by a New York Times media reporter:
In short, the Times refused to take down the story and decline to issue the retraction and the apology Trump’s lawyer appears to have sought.
McCraw argued that Trump has no libel claim—a claim that at its core is meant to protect one’s reputation—because Trump alone is responsible for his image as a misogynist. The letter noted that Trump himself has “bragged about his non-consensual sexual touching of women” and publicly acknowledged that he has walked in on beauty pageant contestants in their dressing rooms. Also mentioned: that Trump once allowed radio host Howard Stern to refer to his daughter Ivanka as a “piece of ass” during an interview.
“Nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr. Trump, through his own words and actions, has already created for himself,” the letter said.
If Trump “believes that American citizens had no right to hear what these women had to say and that the law of this country forces us and those who would dare to criticize him to stand silent or be punished, we welcome the opportunity to have a court set him straight,” the letter concludes.