Donald Trump’s relationship with the truth is about as functional as his relationship with his daughter Tiffany. They’re not complete strangers; sometimes he’ll send it a postcard or give it a call, but they spend most of their time on opposite coasts. But there’s one thing about which the GOP presidential nominee always tells the truth: treating women like garbage.
During the second presidential debate on Monday, Trump insisted that the comments he made to Billy Bush before an Access Hollywood taping in 2005, wherein he bragged about grabbing attractive women “by the pussy” or kissing them without their consent, were lies. “That is sexual assault,” co-moderator Anderson Cooper said. “You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women.”
“I don’t think you understood,” replied Trump. “This was locker-room talk.”
In the ensuing days, it’s certainly appeared that there was a little more to what Trump said than “talk.” On the same day the tape surfaced, CNN’s Erin Burnett recounted the story of her friend, who says Donald Trump once grabbed and tried to kiss her, just like he bragged about. He even used the same breath freshening technique he told Bush he used in the Access Hollywood tape. "Trump took a Tic Tac, suggesting I take them also,” said Burnett, reading from a message her friend sent her. “He then leaned in, catching me off guard, and kissed me almost on the lips.”
A 1997 lawsuit from former business associate Jill Harth alleges a pattern of behavior exactly in line with what Trump told Bush he engages in. According to the complaint, Trump made several unwelcome advances on Harth, including groping her on multiple occasions. The suit also claims Trump attempted to rape her.
But that’s not the only vintage Trump quote about crossing women’s boundaries without their consent. In a Howard Stern interview recently rediscovered by CNN’s KFile, Trump boasted about walking into the changing rooms of pageants he owned. “I’ll tell you the funniest is that I’ll go backstage before a show and everyone’s getting dressed. No men are anywhere, and I’m allowed to go in, because I’m the owner of the pageant and therefore I’m inspecting it. … And you see these incredible looking women, and so I sort of get away with things like that.”
Turns out Trump’s brag about that particular flavor of misogyny also bears out. On Wednesday, Buzzfeed published a story about Trump entering changing rooms at his Miss Teen USA pageant when he was the owner. 1997 Miss Vermont Teen USA, told the publication, “I remember putting on my dress really quick because I was like, ‘Oh my god, there’s a man in here.” Three other contestants from that year corroborated her claim that Trump entered the changing room where, as Buzzfeed notes, contestants as young as 14 were changing in relatively open space.
Trump didn’t limit his changing room strolls to a pageant for underaged girls. Miss Arizona USA 2001 Tasha Dixon told an L.A. TV station that he pulled the same stunt with adult women, too (although, in this case, the line between “adult” and “underaged” is pretty thin; Dixon was 18 at the time). She told CBSLA, “Our first introduction to him was when we were at the dress rehearsal and half-naked, changing into our bikinis. He just came strolling right in. There was no second to put a robe on or any sort of clothing or anything. Some girls were topless. Other girls were naked.”
Critics of Trump may say he lies about his wealth, about how much he’s paid in taxes, about his business dealings, about President Obama’s birthplace, about Ted Cruz’s dad’s involvement in the Kennedy assassination, and about the record of his opponent Hillary Clinton. At least he has his many truthful claims about behaving like a sexist pig to fluff his Politifact score.