'You Can Do Anything': In 2005 Tape, Trump Brags About Groping, Kissing Women
Editor's note: This post contains language that is crude and explicit and that many will find offensive.
Just two days before Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are set to meet for their second presidential debate, more damaging audio of the GOP nominee using crude language about women and how he would hit on them has surfaced.
After an uproar over the tape, Trump pulled out of an event in Wisconsin on Saturday at which he was to appear with House Speaker Paul Ryan. Trump also posted a video to social media saying the remarks don't reflect his true character.
UPDATE, 1:16 p.m., Oct. 8: Trump tells the Washington Post he will not withdraw from the race amid multiple Republicans calling for him to drop out. NPR's Tamara Keith has details.
On Friday afternoon, the Washington Post published a clip of Trump on a hot mic before an interview with Access Hollywood. In chatting with then-host Billy Bush, who is now co-host of NBC's Today show, Trump talked about kissing women and grabbing them between their legs (using far cruder language) without permission, because he's "attracted" to them like a "magnet."
Editor's Note: NBC News has posted the unedited video.
"[W]hen you're a star," he said, "they let you do it. You can do anything."
The interview occurred before Trump was set to film a cameo on the soap opera Days of Our Lives, and he said, laughing, that he needed "some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her."
In talking about kissing women, Trump boasted: "I'm automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything."
"Grab them by the p****. You can do anything," the Republican nominee continued, using vulgar slang for the female anatomy.
Access Hollywood has this description of the scene:
"There were seven other people on the bus with Mr. Trump and Billy Bush at the time," host Natalie Morales said of the incident, noting that camera crew, Trump's security guard and his publicist were all present. She revealed that Nancy O'Dell, currently Entertainment Tonight co-host, was the woman identified on the tape as "Nancy" that Trump had been captured speaking crassly about."
Trump told Bush — who is the nephew of former President George H.W. Bush and cousin of former President George W. Bush and former 2016 candidate Jeb Bush — about a time he unsuccessfully tried to seduce a married woman.
"I moved on her, and I failed," Trump said. "I'll admit it. I did try and f*** her. She was married." He continued, "I moved on her very heavily."
He said he even took her furniture shopping to try to get her to sleep with him.
"I moved on her like a b****," he said, "but I couldn't get there. And she was married. Then, all of a sudden, I see her — she's now got the big phony t*** and everything. She's totally changed her look."
Following the comments, Trump and the others get off the bus and are met by actress Arianne Zucker, who welcomes them to the soap opera.
Trump apologizes in video message
In the video Trump released early Saturday morning, he said,"Anyone who knows me knows these words don't reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong and I apologize."
He said spending time with people during his campaign travels has changed him. "I pledge to be a better man tomorrow and will never let you down," said Trump.
Then he made accusations against the Clintons: "Bill Clinton has actually abused women and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims." Trump said he would have more to say in the coming days.
Earlier, Trump had issued a statement saying the remarks to Bush were "locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course — not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended."
In regard to trying to shift blame to Bill Clinton, Trump has also threatened to bring up the former president's infidelities in an attempt to damage his wife during the next debate. That's despite Trump's having been divorced twice and admitting to his own adultery. At the time of this 2005 recording, Trump had just married his third (and current) wife, Melania.
In a statement, Bush said about his part in the conversation, "Obviously I'm embarrassed and ashamed. It's no excuse, but this happened eleven years ago — I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I'm very sorry."
Friday evening, Speaker Paul Ryan said the Saturday event at which he was due to appear with Trump would go on without the candidate:
"I am sickened by what I heard today. Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified. I hope Mr. Trump treats this situation with the seriousness it deserves and works to demonstrate to the country that he has greater respect for women than this clip suggests. In the meantime, he is no longer attending tomorrow's event in Wisconsin."
Trump said he would be represented in Wisconsin by his running mate Mike Pence. Trump said he would spend the day in New York preparing for Sunday's debate with Clinton, aided by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.
Priebus, who has defended Trump after past controversial statements, issued a short but direct statement:
"No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever."
This is far from the first time Trump has come under fire for using offensive language about women. Last fall, he criticized Fox News host Megyn Kelly for her tough questions during the first GOP primary debate and said she had "blood coming out of her wherever."
During the first general-election debate last week, Trump said actress Rosie O'Donnell "deserves" past insultshe has made calling her a "pig" with a "fat ugly face."
And when Clinton brought up how he had mocked a former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, after she had gained weight, Trump doubled down on his comments for days.
Reactions from around the political scene
Many GOP leaders and lawmakers condemned Trump's language.
House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., the highest-ranking woman in GOP leadership, said the comments "should not be part of our political dialogue":
"It is never appropriate to condone unwanted sexual advances or violence against women. Mr. Trump must realize that it has no place in public or private conversations today or in the past."
Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, the most vulnerable GOP senator up for re-election, said in a tweet that Trump was "a malignant clown - unprepared and unfit to be president of the United States." Kirk rescinded his initial endorsement of Trump earlier this year.
New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, another Republican at risk of losing her seat, said Trump's past comments were "totally inappropriate and offensive" but that she wasn't rescinding her support. Ayotte came under fire earlier this week when she said in a debate that Trump was "absolutely" a role model for kids. She later walked back the comments and said neither candidate should be held up as role models.
Ralph Reed, who is chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and who has endorsed Trump, told CNN that the comments by Trump rank low among the concerns of his supporters, that they are more focused on the issues of abortion, the economy and nuclear arms.
Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, told BuzzFeed he also can look past the comments.
"My personal support for Donald Trump has never been based upon shared values, it is based upon shared concerns about issues such as: justices on the Supreme Court that ignore the constitution, America's continued vulnerability to Islamic terrorists and the systematic attack on religious liberty that we've seen in the last 7 1/2 years," Perkins said in an email to BuzzFeed News."
Trump's former campaign manager and CNN contributor Corey Lewandowski told the network the comments are troubling but "we're not electing a school teacher." He added:
"Is this defensible? Absolutely not. But what I do know is he's the person who's going to lead our country forward and we should think about what that true leadership looks like for the rest of the world."
For the Democrats, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said:
"This is a moment of truth for Republicans. It is time for every Republican elected official in this county to revoke their endorsements of Donald Trump and state that they will not vote for their party's nominee, who has been caught on tape bragging about routinely sexually assaulting women. There is no way to defend the indefensible. In the name of decency, Republicans should admit that this deviant - this sociopath - cannot be president."
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.