Trump Jr. blasts Carper for slapping wife decades ago

Donald Trump Jr.

DOVER — President Donald Trump’s eldest child fired off an explosive tweet Thursday evening, blasting Delaware’s senior senator, who is up for reelection this year, for striking his ex-wife.

Donald Trump Jr. accused Democratic Sen. Tom Carper of hitting his ex-wife “so hard it gave her a black eye.” The post was in response to a tweet from Sen. Carper criticizing the Trump administration for “blatant and repeated disregard for the law.”

Tom Carper

Sen. Carper in 1998 admitted to Celia Cohen, a longtime Delaware political journalist and the author of “Only in Delaware,” to slapping his then wife, Diane, about 20 years prior.

Prior to December, the confession had largely remained dormant for years until a conservative outlet published an article on the claim.

Sen. Carper’s primary challenger did not broach the subject this year.

Mr. Trump’s Thursday tweet followed one from Sen. Carper focusing on Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for first lady Melania Trump. The Office of Special Counsel, a federal watchdog agency, confirmed Thursday Ms. Grisham broke the law by tweeting a political message from her government account, which is prohibited by the federal Hatch Act.

Sen. Carper said on Twitter the ruling reflects “a culture where showing that basic level of respect for the American taxpayer is optional.” Because Ms. Grisham deleted the tweet and has not engaged in any other political activity, according to the Office of Special Counsel, there was no punishment.

The senator’s tweets received hundreds of replies, likely spurred on by Mr. Trump’s tweet. The president’s son said Sen. Carper has “other serious issues to work out” and “shouldn’t be so worried about someone mistakenly putting #maga in a tweet.”

A spokeswoman for Sen. Carper said the senator, who is seeking a fourth term, is “undeterred in his efforts to make sure our government officials are following the law and are held accountable to the Americans they are supposed to serve. He certainly isn’t going to let anyone, especially a man who routinely traffics in conspiracy theories and mocks victims of sexual assault, distract him from pursuing the truth and doing his job.”

The statement references a letter sent by Christine Blasey Ford, who earlier this month accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of attempted rape, to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat. Mr. Trump’s post, captioned “Judge Kavanaughs sexual assault letter found by Dems,” resembles a friendly note passed a child might give to his or her crush, implying any interaction between Judge Kavanaugh and Ms. Ford was completely harmless.

Allegations of domestic violence by Sen. Carper first became public in October 1982, as the then state treasurer challenged Republican Rep. Tom Evans for Delaware’s lone seat in the House of Representatives. The New York Post reported the Democrat had admitted in a court deposition to slapping his wife and giving her a black eye. According to the Post, he also slapped his stepchildren “for doing such things as leaving the family dog on the bed,” leaving bruises.

Both Sen. Carper and his wife strongly denied the claims, which “Only in Delaware” reports were planted by Republicans tied to the Evans campaign. According to the book, among those responsible for leaking the allegations was well-known political operative Roger Stone, who worked on the Trump campaign in 2015 and remains an ally of President Trump.

Sen. Carper went on to win the race. He and his wife at the time divorced in 1983, and he later remarried.

Diane Carper, later known as Diane Isaacs, died in 2013.

The allegations resurfaced in 1996, when then Gov. Carper was seeking a second term as Delaware’s chief executive. In a news conference just two weeks before the general election, a Republican operative accused the governor of abusing his second wife, Martha.

Ms. Carper quickly rebutted the claims, as did the Family Court and her employer, DuPont. The assertion backfired against the Republican Party, and the GOP’s nominee for governor, Janet Rzewnicki, was suspected of having pushed the story, according to “Only in Delaware.”

Voters clearly trusted their governor, giving him 69 percent of the vote in November.

Two years later, he admitted there was truth behind the claims.

“Did I slap my wife 20 years ago? Yes. Do I regret it? Yes. Would I do it again? No,” he told Ms. Cohen.

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