“Locker-room talk” has now been upgraded to “boy talk.”
In her first major interview since the release of a 2005 tape in which her husband brags about sexually assaulting women, Melania Trump sat down with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday and blamed the whole thing on Billy Bush. Donald Trump, who she described as a “teenage boy,” was nothing but a victim of peer pressure and the “left-wing media.”
Asked what she thought when she first viewed the video, Trump’s third wife told Cooper, “I said to my husband that the language is inappropriate, it’s not acceptable, and I was surprised, because that is not the man that I know.” She went to say she doubts her husband even knew his microphone was on at the time, because she’s never heard him engage in “boy talk” like this before. Then, she suggested Trump was “egged on” by Billy Bush to “say dirty and bad stuff.”
CNN’s Anderson Cooper has been at the center of Donald Trump’s 2005 tape scandal from the moment he asked his first question at the second presidential debate a week ago.
“Are you saying that what you said on that bus 11 years ago, that you did not actually kiss women without consent or grope women without consent?” Cooper asked Trump. He had to repeat some form of that question two more times before Trump asserted, “No, I have not.”
It was that claim that has prompted numerous women to come forward over the past several days and accuse Trump of sexually assaulting them. Last week, Cooper interviewed both the first woman to speak out, Jessica Leeds, and the actress Arianne Zucker, who Trump and Billy Bush ogled in the 2005 video. On Monday, he got his chance to chat with Melania Trump, who was pregnant with the couple’s son Barron when her husband talked about grabbing women “by the pussy.”
In a separate interview with Fox News’ Ainsley Earhardt set to air Tuesday morning on Fox & Friends, Melania Trump defended her husband’s attempts to shift the focus off of himself and onto Bill Clinton’s past behavior with women.
“They’re asking for it. They started from the—from the beginning of the campaign putting my—my picture from modeling days,” she said, seeming to blame the Clinton campaign for the nude photos of her that ended up on the cover of the right-wing, pro-Trump New York Post earlier this summer. “That was my modeling days and I’m proud what I did. I worked very hard.”
In addition to laying blame on Billy Bush, who just this afternoon lost his job at the Today show as a result of the tape, Melania Trump suggested that a media conspiracy was responsible for the timing of its release. “It’s many people from the opposite side and they want to damage the campaign,” she said. “And why now? Why after so many years? Why three weeks before the election?” She blamed NBC, Access Hollywood, and the rest of the “left-wing media” for essentially sabotaging her husband’s campaign. (Editor’s Note: Access Hollywood is not a part of the so-called left-wing media.)
“The opposition doesn’t want to talk about WikiLeaks and the emails and Benghazi and all the rest of the stuff, they don’t want to talk about it,” Trump added. “So they said let’s do something so we can hurt his campaign.” As for two of Donald Trump’s favorite targets, The New York Times and The Washington Post, she asked, “When didn’t we hear or read any great stories about my husband or about me?” All she sees is “bashing, bashing, bashing.”
When Cooper asked Melania Trump to weigh in directly on the “locker-room talk” excuse that her husband used in the second debate, she said, “Yeah, it’s kind of like two teenage boys, actually, they should behave better, right?” Cooper had to remind her that Trump was 59 years old at the time of the tape. “Sometimes I said I have two boys at home: I have my young son and I have my husband,” she said, laughing. “But, I know how some men talk and that's how I saw it, yes.”
Melania Trump also responded to first lady Michelle Obama’s powerful speech last week in a way Donald Trump has so far resisted the urge to do. While the first lady labeled the behavior described by Trump on the tape as “sexual assault,” Melania Trump said, “No, that’s not sexual assault,” and relayed stories about women giving her husband their phone numbers in front of her. As Cooper read additional quotes from Obama’s speech, Trump shot back, “I’m not surprised. I mean, she should also look maybe the people who supported her, what they’re doing. So I’m not surprised she said that.”
Asked if she believes all nine of the women who have made sexual assault accusations against her husband are “lying,” she repeated the same statement two times: “I believe my husband. I believe my husband.” What does she think about the way Trump has demeaned their looks at his rallies, saying one of the women wouldn’t be his “first choice?” In Melania Trump’s words, “That’s him. He’s raw. He will say it as he feels it. So, you know, I know he respects women, but he’s defending himself because they’re lies.”
Melania Trump might not be able to control her “teenage” husband, but she is still trying to retain some semblance of normalcy for their young son, Barron.
“We talk a lot, a lot about the campaign. We talk about the language because I don’t allow that he uses bad language,” she told Cooper. “He’s in that age, and older boys are in that age, that, yeah, they say some bad words and it’s very normal. They’re growing up. But I tell him that, you know, there are consequences as well and he needs to be careful about the language he uses.”
It’s a lesson she may have learned from her husband, a man who has never been “careful about the language he uses” and will most likely face some “consequences” on Nov. 8.