WASHINGTON ― Donald Trump insisted in the second presidential debate Sunday night that a tape of him bragging about sexually assaulting women in 2005 was nothing but “locker room talk” and doesn’t represent his attitude toward women. Hillary Clinton responded that the man standing on the stage is every bit the same man who said he could “grab” women “by the pussy” 11 years ago.
“What we all saw and heard on Friday was Donald talking about women, what he thinks about women, what he does to women,” Clinton said. “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, because we’ve seen this throughout the campaign.”
“We have seen him insult women,” Clinton continued. “We’ve seen him rate women on their appearance, rank them from one to 10. We’ve seen him embarrass women on TV and on Twitter. We saw him after the first debate spend nearly a week denigrating a former Miss Universe in the harshest, most personal terms. So yes, this is who Donald Trump is.”
The crass recording, obtained by The Washington Post, shows Trump on a bus with “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush talking about how he can freely grope and hit on married women because he’s a celebrity.
“I just start kissing them,” Trump says on the tape. “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 pussy.”
Debate moderator Anderson Cooper asked Trump if he understood that what he was talking about was sexual assault, and the GOP nominee said “no.”
“This was locker room talk,” Trump said. “I apologize to my family and to the American people. Certainly I’m not proud of it. This is locker room talk, and when you have a world where ISIS is chopping off heads, drowning people in steel cages ...”
Trump then went off on a tangent about ISIS. “I will tell you I will take care of ISIS and get on to much more important and bigger things,” he said.
“I have great respect for women,” Trump said at one point. “Nobody has more.”
Clinton said she’s “spent a lot of time thinking about” Trump’s comments in the leaked video in the past 48 hours, and it’s clear to her that the New York business mogul is unfit to be president.
“It’s not only this video that raises questions about his fitness to be our president,” she said. “Because he has also targeted immigrants, African-Americans, Latinos, people with disabilities, prisoners of war, Muslims, and so many others. So this is who Donald Trump is, and the question for us, the question our country must answer, is if this is not who we are.”
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.