Widely-despised New York City real estate heirs just can’t resist yammering into hot mics. Robert Durst’s got him murder charges; Donald Trump’s might cost him the presidential election. Since video surfaced Friday afternoon of the Republican presidential nominee bragging about his propensity to grab beautiful women “in the pussy,” groups that advocate for women, as well as the Clinton campaign, have responded with powder-keg anger.
And for good reason; the tape’s a lot to stomach even for those with a high tolerance for sexist chatter. In the tape, Trump brags about romantically pursuing a married woman who turned him down, makes disparaging comments about her body, lewdly remarks on soap actress Arianne Zucker’s legs and appearance, and muses on how difficult it is for a man like him to resist the urge to kiss beautiful women immediately upon meeting them. Lest his companion, Access Hollywood talking head Billy Bush, misconstrue what Trump says he does with non-consensual contact, the future politician qualifies it by noting that because he’s a star, he can do whatever he wants to women.
The tape, obtained by the Washington Post’s David Farenthold, was recorded in September of 2005. Trump was newly married at the time, and his new bride, Melania, was pregnant.
Once the recording hit the Friday afternoon news cycle like a stink bomb, Trump issued a terse three-pronged apology. First, he characterized the recording, during which he knew that he was mic’ed, as “locker room talk.” Second, he claimed that Hillary Clinton’s husband, Bill, has said much worse things on the golf course. Third, he apologized “if anybody was offended.”
To put it mildly: to women’s groups, this does not bode well.
Nita Chaudhary, cofounder of the women’s advocacy group Ultraviolet, let out an exasperated sigh before telling The Daily Beast “It’s stunning the amount of stuff that comes out about this man and how every new recording, video, is more disgusting, more vile than the last. It’s like you’re running out of words for how to describe this.”
Another woman employed by a different advocacy group, when read Trump’s apology, responded by saying “Um….” before dissolving into disbelieving laughter.
Official statements were more measured, but no less exasperated. Ultraviolet’s official statement reads, in part, ““Donald Trump is a dangerous, predatory misogynist and this video further proves that he should never be allowed to step foot in the White House. In the newly released video, Trump brags about sexually harassing and assaulting women. While comments like these aren’t surprising coming from a man that has built a presidential campaign and career on denigrating women, this should horrify every American.”
Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said, “What Trump described in these tapes amounts to sexual assault. Trump’s behavior is disgusting and unacceptable in any context, and it is disqualifying for a man who is running for president of this country.”
Destiny Lopez, Co-Director of the All-Above All Action Fund, did not mince words, saying, “Trump’s disgusting comments about women display in the crudest manner possible what kind of lawmaker he would be. He believes a woman’s body is a commodity to be consumed, with little regard for her consent or well-being.” She added, “Trump the reality star sees women’s bodies as existing only for his ridicule or judgement. Trump the President is a prospect almost too horrific to contemplate.”
NARAL Pro-Choice America National Communications Director Kaylie Hanson Long said, “Donald Trump apparently thinks he has the right to sexually assault women because he’s famous. Never mind consent, he doesn’t think he needs it. He’s not a role model, he’s vulgar and dangerous, and his disregard for women has never been more clear.
“We need Hillary Clinton in the White House.”
Christina Reynolds, Deputy Communications Director of Hillary Clinton’s campaign said, succinctly, ““This is horrific. We cannot allow this man to become president.”
The next presidential debate is on Sunday night.