The New York Times’ article published Saturday with the headline “Crossing the Line: How Donald Trump Behaved With Women in Private” begins with an anecdote from a woman named Rowanne Brewer Lane, who as a 26-year-old model was asked by the businessman to put on a swimsuit during their first meeting at a Mar-a-Lago pool party.
“But the 1990 episode at Mar-a-Lago that Ms. Brewer Lane described was different: a debasing face-to-face encounter between Mr. Trump and a young woman he hardly knew. This is the private treatment of some women by Mr. Trump, the up-close and more intimate encounters,” the Times wrote.
On Monday morning, Brewer Lane appeared on “Fox & Friends” to dispute the Times’ framing of her account.
“Actually, it was very upsetting. I was not happy to read it at all,” Brewer Lane said. “Well, because The New York Times told us several times that they would make sure that my story that I was telling came across. They promised several times that they would do it accurately. They told me several times and my manager several times that it would not be a hit piece and that my story would come across the way that I was telling it and honestly, and it absolutely was not.”
Asked what the reporters got wrong, Brewer Lane said they took her quotes and “put a negative connotation on it.”
“They spun it to where it appeared negative. I did not have a negative experience with Donald Trump, and I don’t appreciate them making it look like that I was saying that it was a negative experience because it was not,” Brewer Lane said.
Co-host Ainsley Earhardt asked to clarify if Brewer Lane knew him well and that they dated for several months.
“That’s correct. Yes, and he was never — he never made me feel like I was being demeaned in any way. He never offended me in any way. He was very gracious. I saw him around all types of people, all types of women. He was very kind, thoughtful, generous, you know. He was a gentleman,” Brewer said.
Read the opening line of the story, “Donald J. Trump had barely met Rowanne Brewer Lane when he asked her to change out of her clothes,” Brewer Lane was asked whether that was true or false. False, she said.
“If anybody would ask me, how did you meet Donald Trump? You are going to get the story of how I was at a pool party at Mar-A-Lago with my agency and a lot of other people and it was a night party and I had a photo shoot that I had done all day and I had another photo shoot the next day, and I almost didn’t go, but my agent asked me if I would please come up and just enjoy for a while and so I did, and I didn’t wear a bathing suit. I didn’t have a swimsuit,” she said.
“I came from a shoot like I said, and I started talking with Donald and chatting with him over the course of the first maybe 20 minutes I was there, and we seemed to get along in conversation nicely, and it just very normally and naturally evolved into a conversation. We started walking around the mansion. He started showing me the architecture. We were having a very nice conversation, and we got into a certain part of it and he asked me if I had a swimsuit. I said I didn’t. I had not really planned on swimming. He asked me if I wanted one. I said OK, sure. And I change into one, and the part where I went back out to the pool party and he made a comment now that’s a stunning Trump girl right there, I was actually flattered by. I didn’t feel like it was a demeaning situation or comment at all, and that’s what I told the Times, and they spun it completely differently.”
Earhardt asked, “Wow, why did they do that?”
“Well, obviously they feel like that they need to do something to make him look bad or go along with their article, you know. I don’t know how many people have spoken out about it,” Brewer Lane continued. “I’m very happy that I can, because I have the right platform to do this. I don’t know how many other girls feel like they were misquoted, but I know that for a fact I was, and I don’t want that out there. That’s not how it — that’s how it was. That’s not how it felt, and it’s just not what I want out there. He was a very good guy, Donald, and I think he’s doing a good job in this race and I think that some people have a problem with that.”
Asked whether Trump ever mistreated women, Brewer Lane said, “Not that I’ve ever seen. Absolutely without a doubt, no.”
Brewer Lane said she hasn’t had time to reach out to Trump to set the record straight with him, nor has she spoken with the other women quoted in the article to hear their impressions.
“I would love to find out from here out, you know, if I could — if I’m helping set the platform for this, that’s fantastic, because I read it this morning and I didn’t sleep all night, and I’m here talking about it now because it’s important to me,” Brewer Lane said. “I don’t like what they did, and if Donald sees it and knows that, you know, he doesn’t have to worry. You know, there’s a god.”
Less than an hour later, Trump made note of the interview.
“Wow, Rosanne [sic] Brewer Lane, the most prominently depicted women in the failing @nytimes story yesterday,is on @foxandfriends saying Times lied,” he tweeted, later correcting the spelling in a subsequent tweet.
Earhardt asked, “Why do you think the left, the mainstream media, is so obsessed with just creating this negative headline about how Donald Trump treats women?”
“I can’t answer that. I don’t — I don’t know. I think that they are just reaching for straws,” Brewer Lane responded.
Brewer Lane said her manager has reached out to the reporters responsible for the story.
“We did send a message up to them and let them know that we were going to be saying, telling our side of the story, because they know they promised me several times that that wasn’t going to happen,” Brewer Lane said.
The article features a 1997 anecdote from reigning Miss Universe Brook Antoinette Mahealani Lee in which Lee recalled Trump asking for affirmation that 16-year-old daughter Ivanka is “hot right?”
That recollection is followed by another from Brewer Lane, who said Trump asked her to rate the attractiveness of former wife Ivana Trump and former girlfriend (and future wife) Marla Maples.
“He did ask me, on a scale of 1 to 10, what I thought of Marla. I thought that was very boyish of him. He asked me the same thing about Ivana,” Brewer Lane told the Times. “I said, obviously, she is your wife. A beautiful woman. What could you say but a 10? I am not going to judge your wife.”
Brewer Lane addressed the passage later on CNN, commenting that she saw the incident as a manifestation of Trump’s “boyish charm.”
“I thought it was kind of attractive because you see this stellar businessman,” Brewer Lane said Monday. “I expected a little bit more of a harsh attitude from him, and he was very genuine.”
Trump and his surrogates fiercely pushed back on the story throughout the morning, as senior adviser Barry Bennett appeared on CNN after Barbaro and Twohey to proclaim their article’s use of the term “debased” with respect to Brewer Lane “crazy.”
“She clearly doesn’t feel like she was debased. So they have inserted their own opinion of how she felt which is crazy. First of all, this is the 1980s. We all have a lot of things we regret about the ’80s. I do particularly. Some of the clothes were hideous. I was 18 in 1982. I’m 52 now so a lot has changed,” Bennett said, in reference to one of the eras examined in the article. The episode with Brewer Lane, however, occurred in 1990.
“But I mean, this is ridiculous. They talked to 50 women and managed to put seven or eight in the story. Over half of them had great things to say. The one that had great things to say, they twisted it and called her debased which is not how she feels. You saw that,” Bennett said.
Trump celebrated the pushback to the article in another tweet.
“With the coming forward today of the woman central to the failing @nytimes hit piece on me, we have exposed the article as a fraud!” he wrote.
As for whether she is voting for him, Brewer Lane said she is all in for her former boyfriend.
“I think Donald is doing a great job and he is a very successful businessman, he’s a great leader because of that,” Brewer Lane said on Fox News. “He has a lot going for him, let’s face it, and I’m supporting him.”
A spokesperson for the Times told POLITICO in a statement that “Ms. Brewer Lane was quoted fairly, accurately and at length. The story provides a lot of context for the reader including that the swimsuit scene was the ‘start of a whirlwind romance’ between Ms. Brewer Lane and Mr. Trump.”
The Times reporters who wrote the story, Michael Barbaro and Megan Twohey, appeared on “CBS This Morning” to provide their account.
“I recall in my interview with her that she expressed some — she basically said ‘I was taken aback by this,’ and I think that’s how we depicted it,” Barbaro said, in reference to the swimsuit anecdote. “I think people can kind of evaluate the story on its own merits.”
Barbara Res, a former Trump executive who headed his construction efforts, told POLITICO that she did not take issue with her portrayal in the article, adding that she has been “screwed over” on past occasions by journalists.
Res added about Brewer Lane, “Maybe she’s not used to speaking to reporters.”