NEW YORK ― Donald Trump boasting on tape about his ability to sexually assault women with impunity, among other lewd remarks, has upended the presidential election and raises the question of whether more, even worse, is yet to come.
Given Trump’s decades in the spotlight, including 14 seasons as the star of NBC’s “The Apprentice,” there is presumably a lot more archived, unaired footage of the Republican nominee. But it remains to be seen if any newsworthy material will come to light in the election’s waning weeks.
On Friday afternoon, The Washington Post published a leaked 2005 recording of Trump telling then-"Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush how he could grab women “by the pussy” and get away with it because he’s a celebrity. The thrice-married Trump also discussed trying to “fuck” a married woman and kissing women regardless of whether they consent.
Although Trump has done more than 100 interviews with “Access Hollywood,” a syndicated entertainment news program owned by NBCUniversal, a spokesperson indicated Saturday that producers haven’t found any similar footage.
“We have combed through every interview we have done with Mr. Trump over the past 20 years and at this time, we have not uncovered any other footage that rises to this level,” the spokesperson told The Huffington Post.
Trump has promoted his properties ― and himself ― in television appearances, and there could be still-unearthed outtakes or b-roll from news and entertainment show. But the treasure trove of candid Trump footage would presumably be from his years hosting “The Apprentice,” a reality competition show owned by Mark Burnett Productions.
Former “Apprentice” producer Bill Pruitt suggested Saturday on Twitter there’s “worse” footage than what surfaced Friday.
Pruitt did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A Mark Burnett Productions spokeswoman also did not immediately return a call.
Although “The Apprentice” aired on NBC for more than a decade, the company’s news division doesn’t have access to the program’s archives.
“We don’t own the footage,” an NBC News spokesperson said. “We’re pursuing it along with every other news organization reporting on this story.”
Trump’s misogynistic behavior has been on display throughout his career in business and television, as well as during the 2016 presidential campaign. Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly’s first question during the first Republican primary debate, in August 2015, was about the candidate’s history of sexist remarks about women ― calling them “fat pigs,” “dogs” and “disgusting animals.” Days later, Trump suggested on CNN that Kelly was menstruating when she asked it.
And Trump has shown no sign of changing since winning the GOP’s nomination. He has sought the advice of former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, who left the network in disgrace amid rampant sexual harassment allegations. On the morning after the first presidential debate, Trump criticized a former beauty pageant winner for gaining weight.
News organizations are expected to vet presidential candidates’ past conduct and have highlighted examples of Trump’s inappropriate behavior in recent months. Slate’s Seth Stevenson reported in June on Trump’s off-camera misogyny on the set of “The Apprentice,” a topic that gained more traction this past week.
The Associated Press’ Garance Burke reported on Monday that Trump “repeatedly demeaned women with sexist language” while shooting the reality show.
One former crew member told the AP that Trump would make inappropriate comments about women when there were “10 or 12 cameras rolling and getting that footage, which is why everybody was like, this guy just doesn’t care.”
It was this investigation ― which included interviews with more than 20 interviews with former crew members, editors and contestants ― that apparently prompted an “Access Hollywood” producer to dig up the 2005 video of Trump and former co-host Bush.
Executive producer Rob Silverstein and his team examined the video days later and debated how to proceed, according to CNN’s Brian Stelter. “Access Hollywood” was reportedly preparing a story, but hadn’t planned to air it on Friday’s show ― meaning it wouldn’t run until after the second presidential debate.
It remains unclear what, specifically, was holding up the show’s producers from airing a clearly newsworthy video and what motivated the source to leak it on Friday.
Around 11 a.m. Friday, a source brought the tape to the attention of The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold, a reporter who has stood out this election cycle for doggedly digging into Trump’s murky charitable giving.
Fahrenthold contacted the Trump campaign, “Access Hollywood” and NBC for comment, and published the story around 4 p.m.
NBC News became of aware of the 2005 footage last week, but was holding back on reporting on it until “Access Hollywood” ran its segment. However, NBC News posted its own piece online within minutes of the Post breaking the story, and immediately began covering the subject on MSNBC.
The leaker’s identity remains a mystery, but Silverstein said Friday it wasn’t him.
“I am the last person in the world who would release that tape,” he told The New York Post. “Trust me. Let’s remember that. No chance. Don’t even infer it’s me. I don’t know who leaked it. I have no idea.”
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.
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