Donald Trump loves to boast about his “large brain,” but the fact is it must work alongside a very big mouth. Brains and mouths have trouble functioning when they belong to an organism that exhales lies instead of carbon monoxide. For Trump, not only must it be a challenge to keep his stories straight, but carefully steering himself around liability traps is often an impossible task.
Trump once famously boasted that he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” and not lose any voters. Trump hasn’t tried that experiment, but he has often shot himself in the foot through his confused words and actions. The latest example of this phenomenon is a doozy.
E. Jean Carroll, who credibly accused Trump of raping her in the 1990s, has been pursuing a defamation claim against him since 2019. After going public with her story, Carroll became the victim of a verbal attack by Trump, who claimed Carroll was lying and that they never even met. This prompted Carroll to sue Trump, claiming he defamed her after his false utterances harmed her reputation.
Trump’s lawyers have managed to delay justice in this case by arguing that Trump was the President of the United States acting within the scope of his employment when he made the statements, and so his speech was protected. In a recent court filing, Trump’s legal team went as far as describing it as being essential to Trump’s ability “to maintain the trust of the American people.”
Everything changed, however, when Trump decided to repeat the same problematic statements last month on Truth Social. Trump called Carroll’s case a “complete con job” and insisted he never met her. He repeated his claim that “it is a Hoax and a lie” before reminding us: “And, while I am not supposed to say it, this woman is not my type!”
Actually, Trump was “not supposed to say” anything of this. By doing so, he just blew up his whole defense that he was protected from defamation because he made the statements while President. Repeating these statements in October 2022 while a private citizen kicked open the door to liability.
Sure enough, Carroll’s legal team just revealed they will be including a new defamation claim against Trump next week, along with a civil action for the underlying sexual assault. As I wrote last month, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the Adult Survivors Act into law earlier this year, giving adult sexual assault victims in New York a chance to sue even if the statute of limitations has expired.
Carroll was planning to file the lawsuit on the first day the law allows, which is November 24. That day happens to be Thanksgiving, and with many thanks to Trump’s idiocy, Carroll can also file a new defamation claim that is guaranteed to be free from Trump’s lame privilege defense. Trump is proving himself to be a real turkey.