Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Interrogate The Suspect

It's called a "follow-up question." Asking it is a valuable tactic, particularly when the subject is the President of the United States of America.

Lee Moran of Huffington Post writes

Late night television hosts this week took President Donald Trump to task for the way in which he denied the rape allegation that advice columnist E. Jean Carroll made against him last week.

Trump on Monday brushed aside Carroll’s accusation that he attacked her in a dressing room of New York department store Bergdorf Goodman in the mid-1990s. “I’ll say it with great respect: No. 1, she’s not my type. No. 2, it never happened. It never happened, OK?” Trump told The Hill.

“Really? First of all, that’s not ‘great respect,’” responded Trevor Noah on Tuesday’s broadcast of “The Daily Show.”

It certainly is lack of respect, even gross contempt. However

“If your denial leaves people thinking there is a type of woman you would rape, that’s not a good denial,” he noted. “And I don’t understand how we’re still struggling with this in society. A woman’s attractiveness has nothing to do with whether or not they were raped. Nothing at all.”

It's hard to believe that a woman's attractiveness never has anything at all with being raped. However, not being a social psychologist, nor ever having committed rape or been a victim, I'm willing to be corrected.

Nonetheless, contrary to Noah's assertion, it is a very good denial. It's a very good denial because it's in character, and the President wants (and needs, to avoid prosecution) to be re-elected.  Additionally, "she's not my type" probably is credible with most people, who picture Carroll as she appears now rather that some 25 years ago. Moreover, it's a good denial because as Trump is aware, reporters will be afraid to probe the incident.

Trump was intentionally vague when claiming "it" never happened. He wants to avoid specific questions and fears being pinned down. So throw political correctness, good old fashioned prudishness, or excessive deference to a President to the wind and and ask him "if she wasn't your type, why did you follow her into the dressing room?"

The President has claimed that he never knew Ms. Carroll, but that's demonstrably inaccurate. He should be asked because he was savvy enough strategically to claim "she's not my type" and to be confident no one would ask him a mutually uncomfortable follow-up question.

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