Stunned CNN star suddenly cuts interview
A seasoned CNN presenter was visibly flustered by a bizarre claim from an author who is accusing Donald Trump of sexual assault.
E. Jean Carroll, 75, was giving an interview to anchor Anderson Cooper days after she accused the US President of sexually assaulting her in a New York department store.
However, Cooper quickly called for an ad break after his guest began to explain that "most people see rape as being sexy".
When Carroll was asked about the alleged incident involving President Trump, which he has strongly denied, she told Cooper: "I was not thrown on the ground and ravished."
"The word rape carries so many sexual connotations … this was not sexual," she claimed.
Mr Anderson appeared to take issue with the statement, saying: "I think most people think of rape … as a violent assault. It is not sexy."
However, Carroll disagreed, saying: "I think most people see rape as being sexy."
After an awkward pause, she added: "They think of the fantasies."
The camera then cut to a shot of Cooper who looked stunned by the comment and began to stumble over his words as he called for an ad break, adding:
"We'll talk more on the other side," he said.
Carroll, a New York-based advice columnist, then stared at the host, nodding slowly.
"You're fascinating to talk to," she said.
Mr Trump yesterday denied the claims he sexually assaulted the columnist in a New York City department store in the mid-1990s saying "she's not my type".
"I'll say it with great respect: Number one, she's not my type. Number two, it never happened," he told The Hill in an interview at the White House.
Carroll has claimed that a friendly encounter with Mr Trump at Bergdorf Goodman department store in 1995 or 1996 turned violent when the real estate mogul forced himself on her in a dressing room.
She said that, in a "colossal struggle," she pushed him off and ran from the store.
Mr Trump told The Hill that Carroll is "totally lying" about the accusation, which he also denied earlier.
"I know nothing about this woman. I know nothing about her," he said. "She is - it's just a terrible thing that people can make statements like that."
The allegation against Mr Trump is included in Carroll's upcoming book about the "hideous men" the Elle magazine columnist says she has encountered throughout her life.
Also in the interview with Cooper, she added that she's glad Mr Trump doesn't consider her his type.
"I love that," she said. "I'm so glad I am not his type."
Carroll said there were no attendants in the dressing room area at the time of the alleged assault and she did not file a report with the New York Police Department.
"I wanted to forget it," she said. "I thought A, my fault. B, I was stupid. C, I didn't think of it … as rape. I thought of it as a violent incident. I thought of it as a fight."
During the 2016 presidential campaign, more than a dozen women accused President Trump of sexual misconduct in earlier years. He has denied the allegations and said the women are lying.
The "not my type" remark isn't the first time he has disparaged an accuser.
In 2016, after a former magazine writer accused the POTUS of assaulting her in 2005, he responded: "She lies! Look at her, I don't think so."
And when another woman claimed President Trump groped her on an aeroplane in the early 1980s, he said, "Believe me - she would not be my first choice."