Washington : Donald Trump’s White House campaign has been jolted with a 2005 video of him surfacing in which he is making lewd remarks about women, prompting a rare apology from the controversial Republican presidential candidate.
The video, obtained by the Washington Post, captures Trump having an extremely lewd conversation about women. “I just start kissing them…Just kiss. I don’t even wait,” Trump is quoted saying. “And when you’re a star they let you do it,” he says in the recording.
The 70-year-old business tycoon bragged in vulgar terms about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women during the conversation caught on a microphone.
The video captures Trump talking with Billy Bush, then of “Access Hollywood”, on a bus with the show’s name written across the side. They were arriving on the set of ‘Days of Our Lives’ to tape a segment about Trump’s cameo on the soap opera.
Following outrage over his comments, Trump said, “This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course — not even close.”
Making a rare apology, Trump said, “I apologise if anyone was offended.” Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton was quick to slam him for his remarks, saying, “This is horrific. We cannot allow this man to become president.”
“This kind of behaviour is disgusting. It makes me sick to my stomach,” Democratic vice presidential nominee Senator Tim Kaine said.
Later, in a taped apology posted on his Facebook page this morning, Trump said, “I’ve never said I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone that I’m not. I’ve said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more than a decade-old video are one of them.”
“Anyone who knows me, know these words don’t reflect who I am. I said it, it was wrong, and I apologise,” he said in the 91-second video.
Appearing apologetic, Trump said he has travelled the country talking about change for America. “But my travels have also changed me”. Trump pledged to be a better man tomorrow, and said will never, ever let the countrymen down.
“Let’s be honest. We’re living in the real world. This is nothing more than a distraction from the important issues we are facing today. We are losing our jobs, we are less safe than we were 8 years ago and Washington is broken,” he said as his tone soon appeared to be combative.
However, the reality TV star quickly pivoted from his own crisis to attack the husband of his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. “I’ve said some foolish things, but there’s a big difference between the words and actions of other people.”
“Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims. We’ll discuss this in the coming days. See you at the debate on Sunday,” Trump said.
The video could impact Trump’s campaign bid significantly as it has emerged just days ahead of the second presidential debate scheduled for Sunday.
“I’ve spent time with grieving mothers who’ve lost their children, laid off workers whose jobs have gone to other countries, and people from all walks of life who just want a better future. I have gotten to know the great people of our country, and I’ve been humbled by the faith they’ve placed in me,” Trump said in the video on his Facebook page.
Even Trump’s own party men refused to accept his apology. House of Representative Speaker Paul Ryan, in a statement, said he is “sickened” by Trump’s 2005 comments about women. “Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified,” Ryan said.
“I hope Mr Trump treats this situation with the seriousness it deserves and works to demonstrate to the country that he has greater respect for women than this clip suggests,” he said.
Even Trump’s own party chief, Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, said this was unacceptable. “No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever,” he said in a statement.
Ryan and Trump were scheduled to attend an election rally in Wisconsin on Sunday night. However, Trump would not be attending it now and instead will be represented by the Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence.
“Governor Mike Pence will be representing me tomorrow in Wisconsin. I will be spending the day in New York in debate prep with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, Governor Chris Christie and Senator Jeff Sessions, and then flying to St. Louis on Sunday for the 2nd Presidential Debate,” Trump said in a statement last night.
Reacting to the video, Senator John McCain said, “There are no excuses for Donald Trump’s offensive and demeaning comments.”
“No woman should ever be victimised by this kind of inappropriate behaviour. He alone bears the burden of his conduct and alone should suffer the consequences,” he said.
Meanwhile, The New York Times, in an editorial, said, “Donald Trump —- a man who aspires to represent the highest ideals of the nation to his fellow citizens and the world — is heard on a videotape obtained by The Washington Post talking about how he would force himself on women.”
“We elect our presidents in the hope that they will do their best for us, including to try — whatever their flaws and ours — to represent the best in us. There is no such hope for Donald Trump,” the daily said.
“If Trump himself cannot acknowledge that this kind of language is beyond the pale of acceptable, he needs a good talking to from Ivanka,” The Washington Post said.