Seven women have now corroborated allegations of sexual assault by Donald Trump — in one day.
Are you voting for Trump? Where does one draw the line? What more must a person see or hear to reject this bigoted, predatory monster who denigrates and prays on the vulnerable?
He has not only viciously attacked women, but also immigrants, Mexicans, Muslims, African Americans, differently abled people, POWs, generals, Gold Star families, and nearly every other class of human being. How has no prior act disqualified this sickening man in the eyes of his supporters?
Trump infamously bragged about grabbing women’s pussy, kissing forcibly without consent, exploiting his power of celebrity to have sex with whomever he pleased in his own words on the hot-mic recording released by The Washington Post on Friday. Trump boasted about the precise actions of which he has been accused. While he vaguely apologized for his words in a short video message, Trump dismissed it as nothing more than mere “locker room talk.”
“You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?” World-class journalist and moderator Anderson Cooper pressed Trump in the most recent presidential debate. “Have you ever done those things?” Cooper asked for a third time on Sunday evening. “No, I have not,” he declared.
Donald Trump flat out denied allegations of sexual assault. And that very denial motivated women to come forward with specific accusations of inappropriate touching and kissing by Trump.
Yesterday alone, at least seven women raised allegations against Trump.
The New York Times broke the story: Two Women Say Donald Trump Touched Them Inappropriately. Jessica Leeds and Rachel Crooks shared their personal accounts of sexual assault for the first time. “I wanted to punch the screen,” said Leeds, who could no longer remain silent after watching Trump lie on the debate stage about never actually grabbing women’s genitals. She knew differently from a plane flight where he put his hands up her skirt decades ago. “People should know this behavior is pervasive and it is real,” said Rachel Cook, who was too incensed after hearing Trump lie that his vulgar words never amounted to action. Trump kissed her, when she was a 22-year-old receptionist in Trump Tower.
“None of this ever took place.” Trump shouted at the New York Times reporter. “This entire article is fiction,” read an overnight statement from the Trump campaign categorically denying all claims, before threatening a lawsuit. He then tweeted, “The phony story in the failing @nytimes is a TOTAL FABRICATION.” One can only assume that the New York Times would not release a story without high-powered libel lawyers ready to counter. Trump aides have reportedly threatened the two women in the story to “lawyer up.” Such words are intimidation — to any women sitting on stories about Trump, or other sexual predators.
A People Magazine reporter released a detailed story about Trump forcing himself on her, while other women came forward in BuzzFeed, The Guardian, The Palm Beach Post, and on Facebook. Sources say that dozens more may add their voice in the coming days.
When someone shows you who they are believe them, the first time. Maya Angelou’s words could not ring more true than with this election cycle.
Trump’s long history of misogyny, sexism, and harassment is well documented. Despite his debate claims that “Nobody has more respect for women than I do,” the bully has been degrading women for decades, in real life and on tape. He frequently attacks, insults, and embarrasses women based on appearance in person, on television, and across Twitter.
Trump’s recent predatory comments objectifying women — which amount to sexual assault — are reprehensible. But tragically, despicable statements that take aim at a certain group with derogatory language fit a decades-long pattern of his.
He was exposed for workplace exploits that cross the line by the New York Times earlier this year, as well as sexist behavior on set of The Apprentice in an AP report. Trump insinuated he would have sex with his daughter, Ivanka, in Rolling Stone and engaged in lewd conversation about her “ass” with Howard Stern.
On Stern’s radio show in 2005, Trump bragged about going backstage at his beauty pageants, where contestants are as young as 15 years old. “I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant and therefore I’m inspecting it… and you see these incredible looking women and I sort of get away with things like that.” Contestants in the Miss Teen USA and Miss America pageants spoke out on news. Miss Arizona 2001, Tasha Dixon, spoke about the troubles of Trump walking in on them, “to have the owner come waltzing in when we are half naked, in a very physically vulnerable position” on CNN in the wake of the allegations.
In August 2015, Fox News’ debate moderator Megyn Kelly asked if Trump — a man who has called women ‘fat pigs,’ ‘dogs,’ ‘slobs,’ and ‘disgusting animals’ and said it would be a ‘pretty picture’ to see a Celebrity Apprentice contestant on her knees — has the temperament to be president. “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.” He attacked her viciously, but denied it had anything to do with menstruation. Rosie O’Donnell and Alicia Machado are two other prominent females he has openly decried.
Then came Friday, October 7, when #TrumpTapes surfaced. “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything,” he brags to Billy Bush of Access Hollywood in the 2005 hot-mic conversation. “Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” He gloats about repeatedly not waiting for consent and references trying to “fuck” married women, exploiting the very celebrity power of which he speaks. There is nothing okay about what Trump said: we, women, are not up for grabs, as I detail.
Trump’s forced pre-recorded apology only added fuel to the fire. He maintained that the quotes did not reflect who he truly is, despite his conduct telling a dramatically different story. He said the content of the tape was a distraction from “more important things, much bigger things” from the debate stage. Trump is grossly mistaken and out of touch to claim that sexual assault, physical harassment, gender discrimination, violence against women, and rape culture are not of the utmost importance to men and women alike. Such words are indefensible and only fuel the horrific actions with dangerous ramifications.
Over the past year and a half, Trump’s offensive rhetoric has alienated people across the board, including Republicans leaders, but never with such force and prominence as in the wake of the #TrumpTapes release. 160 and counting GOP politicians and officials have expressly spoken out against the presidential nominee.
Big names — from John McCain to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Condoleezza Rice to John Kasich, Carly Fiorina to George Pataki and dozens more — issued statements withdrawing support and rescinding endorsements for the offensive acts and lewd language. Some called for Trump to step down immediately as the party’s nominee, others pledged to write in Mike Pence.
What has taken Republicans so long to distance themselves? Does it have to do with strategy? Trump’s poll numbers have dropped significantly — and no one wants to be on a losing team come Election Day, so this now offers a reason to step away. The audience most offended by these comments is women; he denigrated and allegedly assaulted that key voting block of white, suburban, college-educated women for whom both campaigns are vying.
There are still cowardly individuals who have not withdrawn support, effectively defending the indefensible. Will these allegations force action? In the midst of a much-talked-about Tweetstorm, Marybeth Glenn wrote: “I’m sooo done. If you can’t stand up for women & unendorse this piece of human garbage, you deserve every charge of sexism thrown at you.” Perhaps these men are listening.
—Speaker Ryan, who actually signed a bill to protect the rights of sexual assault survivors on the same day the tapes were leaked, will never again campaign for Trump, yet refuses to withdraw his endorsement
— VP Nominee Mike Pence said he was “offended by the words and actions” and could not condone or defend them, canceling campaign appearances over the weekend, but resumed duties and stood by his running mate after the debate
— RNC Chairman Rience Priebus remains behind Trump, if only because he did not have a complete meltdown at the debate
— Christie is deeply upset about what Trump said and how he’s handled it without absolute apology, but “at this point” still supports him
— After only recently endorsing Trump, Cruz called the comments “disturbing and inappropriate,” but has not withdrawn support for Trump due to Clinton being an “absolute disaster”
— Rubio condemned Trump’s words as “vulgar, egregious and impossible to justify,” and openly disagrees with many Trump positions, but will not change his position on President
— McConnell called the comments repugnant and unacceptable, saying Trump needed to apologize and take responsibility for the comments — but no more
— Senator Burr said he was waiting to “watch his level of contrition” and subsequently determined to forgive him
— Senators Boozman, Coats, Cornyn, Ernst, Hatch, and Toomey, like Congressmembers Brooks and McMorris Rodgers and even former nominee Bob Dole have not withdrawn support. Giuliani has been hitting the media circuit in Trump’s defense, more concerned with emails than sexual assault.
Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, called the comments “disgusting” and “reprehensible,” but smoothed it over by saying he was seeking “mercy” and “forgiveness.” She went on to effectively defend his words, by citing her personal experience with politicians acting similarly. Conway claimed there was “no way” for her to be able to comment on the new allegations, as she was not present at the time, in an empty defense to CNN.
The election is 26 days away. October surprises are nothing new, but these bombshells have been daily and more tapes certainly exist from Trump’s years on camera; whether that content will be released to haunt Trump remains to be seen. All of this news has clear impacts on the election.
The raw political power of his vile words on tape is striking, prior even to these allegations of sexual assault. A brand new poll demonstrates how Trump’s likely voters dropped from 41% the day before the tapes dropped to 38% day of to 30% over the weekend. Meanwhile, Clinton’s numbers climbed from trailing Trump at 40% prior to the release to 44% to 49%, a 19 point-lead among likely voters statewide.
These widespread allegations prove that Trump’s words were not “locker room talk,” that he lied to the country on the debate stage about never acting upon such despicable words. Donald Trump did as he said: sexually assaulted women, repeatedly.
When you go to the polls, consider the quantity of sexual assault allegations against the Republican nominee; let his appalling comments about women (and all others) resonate in your head; note the way in which he has employed power to intimidate accusers and anyone who crosses or opposes him. Donald Trump is unfit to serve as president.