Donald Trump dismissed his lewd 2005 comments about kissing and groping women as “locker-room talk” that he never acted upon while Hillary Clinton said the bombshell tape “represents exactly who he is” during their presidential debate on Sunday night.
Part-time Palm Beach billionaire Trump’s campaign has been rocked by Republican defections and calls for him to get out of the race since the tape surfaced on Friday afternoon.
The 2005 tape captures Trump saying that when he sees attractive women, “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet…And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p—-. You can do anything.”
CNN’s Anderson Cooper, one of the Sunday night debate moderators, said Trump was describing sexual assault.
“No, I didn’t say that at all. I don’t think you understood what was said,” Trump said. “This was locker room talk. I’m not proud of it. I apologize to my family. I apologize to the American people. Certainly, I’m not proud of it. But this is locker room talk.”
Trump tried to change the subject to ISIS and “much more important things and much bigger things,” but Cooper pressed Trump three times on whether he had actually kissed or groped women without their consent.
“No, I have not,” Trump finally replied.
Clinton called Trump “not fit” to be president and said the tape showed “Donald talking about women. What he thinks about women. What he does to women. And he has said that the video doesn’t represent who he is. But I think it’s clear to anyone who heard it that it represents exactly who he is.”
Clinton brought up other comments Trump has made to denigrate women, immigrants, minorities, people with disabilities and Muslims.
“This is who Donald Trump is, and the question for us, the question our country must answer is that this is not who we are.”
In the hours leading up to the debate, Trump tried to turn attention to former President Bill Clinton‘s sexual indiscretions and Hillary Clinton’s defense of her husband in the 1990s. Trump had three of Bill Clinton’s accusers seated in the audience as well as a rape victim whose attacker was represented by Hillary Clinton when she practiced law in the 1970s.
“If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse. Mine are words, his was action. This is what he has done to women. There’s never been anybody in the history of politics in this nation that’s been so abusive to women…Hillary Clinton attacked those same women and attacked them viciously,” Trump said.
Clinton responded that “so much of what he just said is not right, but he gets to run his campaign any way he chooses. He gets to decide what he gets to talk about…When I hear something like that, I am reminded of what my friend, Michelle Obama, advised us all: ‘When they go low, you go high.'”
Clinton added: “If this were just about one video, maybe what he’s saying tonight would be understandable, but everyone can draw their own conclusions at this point about whether or not the man in video or on the stage respects women.”