You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

Did Donald Trump lie in his deposition about his “immigrants are rapists” speech?

On Friday afternoon, BuzzFeed posted a video and a transcript of a deposition that Trump did earlier this year relating to his recently opened hotel in Washington, D.C. The deposition was taken for a lawsuit that Trump is conducting against a restaurateur who backed out of a deal with Trump after his infamous speech about Mexican immigrants, in which he said, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

In the deposition, Trump says that he did not consult with anyone about his speech.

Q: With respect to the speech you made, and specifically the focus on Mexicans and immigrants, did you write the statement in advance?

A: No.

Q: And did you plan in advance what you were going to say?

A: Yes.

Q: Okay. Did you talk to other people about it?

A: No. No I didn’t. I didn’t at all.

But Trump’s testimony seems to contradict an account published in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine. Here’s Robert Draper on that section of the speech:

The line struck [radio host Charlie] Sykes as awfully familiar when he heard it. A month before, he had run a segment with Ann Coulter, who had just published her 11th book, an anti-immigration screed titled ¡Adios, America! Sykes was well aware of Coulter’s views, but he was taken aback when she began a riff on Mexican rapists surging into the United States (a subject that takes up an entire chapter of ¡Adios, America!). “I remember looking at my producer and going, ‘Wow, this is rather extraordinary,’” he told me. “When Trump used that line, I instantly recognized it as Ann Coulter’s.”

In fact, Corey Lewandowski had reached out to Coulter for advice in the run-up to Trump’s announcement speech. The address Trump delivered on June 16 bore no resemblance to his prepared text, which contained a mere two sentences about immigration. Instead, he ad-libbed what Coulter today calls “the Mexican rapist speech that won my heart.” When Trump’s remarks provoked fury, Lewandowski called Coulter for backup. Three days later, she went on HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher and, amid shrieks of laughter from the audience, predicted that Trump was the Republican candidate most likely to win the presidency.

Trump may not have talked to Coulter, but at the very least he seems to have consulted with Lewandowski.