Photo (cc) by Gage Skidmore
Photo (cc) by Gage Skidmore

Going into Sunday’s debate, just about everyone was buzzing about Donald Trump’s latest scandal and perhaps his sauciest one yet – the infamous Access Hollywood bus conversation where he made grotesque and lewd comments to Billy Bush about groping and assaulting women (warning: the following video contains graphic content):

To say that became an issue would probably be the biggest understatement of this election. Almost instantly after the footage was published in an article by the Washington Post by chief Trump fact-checker David Farenthold (who I mentioned in one of my earlier posts as a great resource). As the article mentions, Trump is quoted as saying the following:

“I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her,” Trump says. “You know 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,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”

“Whatever you want,” says another voice, apparently Bush’s.

“Grab them by the p—y,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”

Not very presidential of a candidate to say, is it? But as if the comments weren’t already harmful enough to his campaign, Trump had to go even further in the debate so as to suggest that what he said was permissible because it was just “locker room talk”:

In his recorded apology to the public after the tape surfaced, Trump also refused to take full responsibility and instead tried shifting the blame to frontrunner Hillary’s husband Bill and his numerous infidelities while in office:

It’s no surprise that his remarks not only gathered enormous media attention but sparked a political firestorm, with pledged endorsements dropping Trump left and right. He was getting sharp rebuttals by everyone from Robert De Niro:

to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan:

What ensued was the worst week of Donald Trump’s campaign. And yet, as Donald Trump himself admitted in his apology, this horrifyingly crude tape is not exactly out of the ordinary for the GOP nominee (“I’ve never said I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone that I’m not”). The truth be told, as difficult as this tape was to hear for me (and the millions of women around the country), I can’t say that I’m all that surprised that something like this would eventually surface. Trump has routinely said malicious things about groups like women, minorities, veterans, people with disabilities and even members of his own party (and even members of his own campaign). He is a true demagogue, in every sense of the word, and perhaps it was a leaked video like this that would finally spur voters (and politicians) to realize this. The fallout has been substantial – apart from the public denouncements by GOP heavyweights, Clinton now leads Trump in the national polls by a whopping 7 points according to the RealClearPolitics average. The New York Times broke a story yesterday about two women who have alleged Trump sexually assaulted them, while the Post details four women with accusations. I expect this will only continue to demolish his numbers as we near the election, even as Clinton herself is dealing with scandals involving recent Wikileaks email hacks.

On a personal note, I just want to say that unequivocally what Trump said on that video is sickening, deplorable and disheartening. Imagine the thousands of sexual assault survivors, and how they must feel when the Republican nominee for president of the United States is a proud outspoken sexual predator. Imagine the daughters who have to ask their parents what the presidential candidate means when he says “grab them by the p—y” and how the parents must feel when they tell their children that an admitted offender might become president come November. And Donald’s attempts to trivialize and shrug off these comments only add further insult to injury. Hillary Clinton may not be the perfect candidate, but she is the most qualified and at the very least I don’t have to worry about whether she might “move on me like a b****” if we’re alone in a room together.

 

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