The Daily Donald: Fasten your seatbelts, America -- the Trump surge isn't over yet

As Trump confronts new questions surrounding decades-old accusations of marital rape, NH poll brings good news

Published July 28, 2015 1:52PM (EDT)

Donald Trump                      (Reuters/Brendan Mcdermid)
Donald Trump (Reuters/Brendan Mcdermid)

Donald Trump has twice the support of Jeb Bush in New Hampshire, and his lawyer is out defending him from allegations of marital rape with outrageous statements denying the existence of such a thing.

Trump is still leading the GOP pack and the former reality TV star refuses to relinquish the spotlight.

Here are the latest developments in the Trump Show:

Trump trounces GOP field in latest poll

Another day, another poll showing Trump leading the GOP pack but this time, Trump is leading his nearest competitor by a 2-to-1 margin. In a new Monmouth University poll of New Hampshire Republicans, Trump holds 24 percent of the vote, compared with 12 percent for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. The poll, conducted entirely in the aftermath of Trump's controversial comments on Sen. McCain's status as a war hero, found that 47 percent of GOP primary voters in the first-in-the-nation primary state say they still view him favorably.

"The controversy over comments about John McCain’s war service do not appear to have slowed the Trump steamroller," explained Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

"You can't rape your spouse," Trump's lawyer (falsely) claims

Last night, The Daily Beast published an explosive reexamination of allegations first made in 1993 in a book that reported one of Trump's ex-wives, Ivana, had described a "violent assault" during a deposition for her divorce from Trump. The book, "Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump," also described how "some of her closest confidantes" claimed that Ivana told them she had been "raped" by Trump.

When the Daily Beast contacted the Trump campaign about the decades-old allegations, Trump's lawyer responded with a whopper of a statement, claiming that "you cannot rape your spouse." Trump's attorney, Michael Cohen, explained "that by the very definition, you can’t rape your spouse,” pointing to what he called "very clear case law" (He's, of course, wrong. Spousal rape is absolutely illegal and has been so in New York state for more than 30 years).

Cohen also reportedly threatened The Daily Beast reporters, saying, "I will make sure that you and I meet one day while we're in the courthouse ... And I will take you for every penny you still don't have. And I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know. So I'm warning you, tread very fucking lightly, because what I'm going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting. You understand me?"

According to The Daily Beast, Trump's lawyer went on with more personal threats: “Though there’s many literal senses to the word, if you distort it, and you put Mr. Trump’s name there onto it, rest assured, you will suffer the consequences. So you do whatever you want. You want to ruin your life at the age of 20? You do that, and I’ll be happy to serve it right up to you."

“It’s not the word that you’re trying to make it into,” Cohen explained, saying Ivana was actually referencing how “she felt raped emotionally… She was not referring to it [as] a criminal matter, and not in its literal sense, though there’s many literal senses to the word.” And The Daily Beast notes that back in 1993, Donald Trump and his lawyers provided a statement from Ivana walking back the rape allegation.

"During a deposition given by me in connection with my matrimonial case, I stated that my husband had raped me," Ivana's statement read. "[O]n one occasion during 1989, Mr. Trump and I had marital relations in which he behaved very differently toward me than he had during our marriage. As a woman, I felt violated, as the love and tenderness, which he normally exhibited towards me, was absent. I referred to this as a 'rape,' but I do not want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense."

Although neither Ivana nor Donald Trump have comment directly on the resurfacing of these allegations, Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill was quick to lump Trump's attorney's comments those made by failed GOP senate candidate, Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin:

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'Donald Trump Act' passes GOP-led House

In the midst of mounting backlash to comments made during his announcement speech conflating Mexican immigrants with criminals, Trump seized upon the shooting death of Kate Steinle, allegedly perpetuated by an undocumented immigrant who had a criminal history, to attack so-called sanctuary cities who refuse to turn over undocumented immigrants to federal officials for deportation.

House Republicans, seemingly in agreement with Trump's attacks, passed a bill that  “would punish cities that refuse to enforce federal immigration law.”

California Republican Duncan Hunter, a co-sponsor of the bill, told The Hill, “If an arrest is made, the federal government should be notified. The fact that San Francisco, Los Angeles and other cities disagree with the politics of federal enforcement doesn’t mean they should receive a pass to subvert the law.”

The bill has been dubbed the ‘Donald Trump Act,’ by Democrats who oppose the measure. “Just a few weeks into his campaign and Donald Trump has a bill on the floor of the House. That is better than some of the senators he’s running against,” Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez, joked.

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

MORE FROM Sophia Tesfaye

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2016 Elections Donald Trump Ivana Trump Michael Cohen New Hampshire Polls Republican Party The Daily Beast