On Sunday, September 27, Donald Trump’s senior advisor and former campaign manager Brad Parscale was detained by the Fort Lauderdale police and involuntarily committed for psychiatric evaluation. While the initial reporting focused on Parscale’s risk of suicide, it quickly emerged that Parscale also posed a threat to his wife Candice, who told police officers that her husband hit her earlier in the week. According to the police report, bruises were visible on her arms and face.
Now Candice has walked back her accusations that her husband physically abused her. In a statement to Politico, she wrote, “The statements I made on Sunday have been misconstrued, let it be clear my husband was not violent towards me that day or any day prior.”
The details in the police report, however, tell a different and extremely harrowing story.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, Candice had fled their home after her husband threatened her with a loaded gun during an argument, and asked a nearby real estate agent for help. It was the real estate agent, who saw bruising on both of Candice’s arms, who called 911. Candice subsequently told police officers that, in the words of one detective, “Brad Parscale hits her.”
“It was evident that Candice Parscale could not safely be left with Brad,” the detective wrote in his report, noting that there were “several large sized contusions on both of her arms, her cheek and forehead.” According to another officer who arrived on the scene, Candice told him that the bruises were from her husband but were not new. Brad, she said, was under a lot of stress, and had been drinking.
Candice’s statement to Politico isn’t particularly surprising; victims of domestic violence often walk back their initial accusations. While there aren’t comprehensive studies, some experts estimate that as many as seven out of 10 victims recant their abuse allegations. According to a Department of Justice report from 2009, one study found that of domestic violence charges that were dropped and that did not lead to prosecution, the most common reason was that the victim denied being abused, followed by married victims refusing to testify against their abusers.
There are a variety of understandable reasons why someone would wish to not press charges against their partner. Researcher Amy Bonomi found in a 2011 study that abusers often rely on emotional manipulation to get their victims to recant, portraying themselves as the victims. “The existing belief is that victims recant because the perpetrator threatens her with more violence. But our results suggest something very different,” Bonomi stated, adding, “Perpetrators are not threatening the victim, but are using more sophisticated emotional appeals designed to minimize their actions and gain the sympathy of the victim.”
If Candice is now walking back her earlier statements, it seems fair to assume that she is unwilling to cooperate with law enforcement. Given her reluctance, it’s extremely unlikely that Parscale will face prosecution, but it is still possible given Florida’s domestic violence statutes.
As for Parscale, who was demoted into a lesser role on Trump’s campaign team earlier this year, he has now resigned from the campaign. “I am stepping away from my company and any role in the campaign for the immediate future to focus on my family and get help dealing with the overwhelming stress,” he said in a statement to Politico.