Barry Levine and Monique El-Faizy, authors of “All the President’s Women,” feel they have more than enough evidence to label Donald Trump as a “predator” based on the 67 different accusations of inappropriate behavior — 26 of which include unwanted sexual behavior — documented in their new book.
But in an interview with The Wrap, Levine and El-Faizy said they were also troubled by the response — or lack thereof — their book has received from major media outlets and the White House itself.
“Part of the problem with that is when you don’t look at it, when you just kind of accept it or brush it off,” El-Faizy said, “you’re saying, ‘Oh, that’s not important, it’s OK,’ and it’s normalizing that behavior. That’s a dangerous thing.”
“All the President’s Women” chronicles the history of Trump’s behavior with and toward the women in his life, including new accusations of misconduct by the president. Beginning from his childhood to his presidency, the authors and journalists documented 41 different accusations of inappropriate behavior, including the ogling of young models and lewd comments directed toward specific women, and 26 accusations of unwanted sexual behavior, including unwanted kissing, groping, and two allegations of rape.
The White House, meanwhile, has brushed off the accusations: “That book is trash and those accusations from 20 years ago have been addressed many times,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement to Business Insider. (Grisham did not respond to a request for comment from The Wrap.)
Indeed, most of the serious accusations against Trump included in the book have been reported before in various different outlets. But for the new reporting — which includes the account of one woman who said that Trump, true to his “Access Hollywood” bragging, grabbed her by her genitals and kissed her without her consent in the early 2000s — the lack of response from the White House demonstrates how unsurprising, how normal it has become to hear accusations that the president kissed multiple women without their consent; groped numerous women, including putting his hands up a woman’s skirt to touch her genitals; had sex with adult film actresses and paid for their silence; barged into dressing rooms to ogle teenage girls and see them naked; and sexually assaulted a woman in Bergdorf Goodman’s.
Trump has denied these accusations and has, for the last example, argued that he couldn’t have committed the act because the woman was “not [his] type.” The accuser, columnist E. Jean Carroll, sued Trump on Monday for defamation and “on behalf of every woman who has ever been harassed, assaulted, silenced, or spoken up only to be shamed, fired, ridiculed and belittled.”
Levine said he hoped the numerous accusations wouldn’t get buried in the public consciousness and that other journalists would continue to report on Trump’s behavior leading up to the 2020 election.
“It is also troubling to me that the mainstream media has just kind of accepted that response and are not willing to probe further at this point,” Levine said. “I realize there’s a lot going on in Washington right now with the impeachment inquiry, but to me, this is extremely important that we stay focused on this.”
Levine may be an odd position given his past as the former executive editor of The National Enquirer — a tabloid that largely helped build Trump’s celebrity image and has been accused of burying negative Trump stories during the 2016 election. When asked how the investigation for the book might have led him to reevaluate his involvement in the Trump story via the Enquirer, Levine declined to comment.
“It’s my own personal policy not to discuss any jobs I’ve had in my 40-year career, so I don’t want to talk specifically about that time,” he said, adding that he had no plans to write about Trump’s ties to Enquirer parent company AMI CEO David Pecker and chief content officer Dylan Howard — details that are also conspicuously omitted in the book.
“My intention was never to get involved in any of that, because all of that had been out in newspapers and media and so forth. My intention was seeing if I could find new allegations of inappropriate behavior, and also add to the catalog of the women, the accusers who came out in 2016, to see if we can expand on that and also go back to them in terms of determining how their life changed since that period of time,” Levine said. “I’m satisfied that I’ve done that.”
El-Faizy said that aside from continued reporting into the accusations, the media should consider how Trump’s views toward women may have shaped the way his administration has implemented policies that directly impact women, such as the cutting of funding to Planned Parenthood.
“It really trickles down all the way through the administration, and he’s made some very dangerous changes that affect women very negatively,” El-Faizy said.
But when it comes to Levine and El-Faizy’s book, perhaps the power of “All the President’s Women” may best be summed up on page 250. In an appendix titled “All the President’s Women A to Z,” the authors list, one by one, each accusation of improper behavior against Trump. It’s 56 pages long.