Donald Trump bragged in vulgar terms about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women during a 2005 conversation caught on a hot microphone -- saying that “when you’re a star, they let you do it” -- according to a video obtained by The Washington Post.More:
"I'm automatically attracted to beautiful women -- I just start kissing them, it's like a magnet," Trump said in 2005 during a conversation with Billy Bush caught on audio during the taping of an interview for Access Hollywood. "I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything… Grab 'em by the pussy."
... Earlier in the conversation, Trump recalls talking about trying to woo a married woman.
"I moved on her actually, she was down in Palm Beach and I failed. I'll admit it. I did try to fuck her, she was married … and I moved on her very heavily," Trump is heard saying.
Please note that this conversation took place a few months after his January 2005 marriage to Melania.
Trump is struggling with women, including white women, who normally vote Republican. I don't know how he can win them back after this. And remember, it's still early October. There might be something worse than this teed up and waiting for him. I've been wary of reports saying that Hillary Clinton is potentially on the verge of a huge victory, but I can't really imagine her losing her lead now.
But may I return to one point I made earlier in the week? I criticized Virginia Heffernan for a Politico piece in which she portrayed Trump as a victim of Howard Stern's dark interviewing arts. Stern, according to Heffernan, lured Trump onto his show in the 1990s and then manipulated him into saying embarrassing things about sex. I'll grant that Stern has skills as an interviewer. But here's a conversation (admittedly not intended for broadcast) in which Trump embarrasses himself with sex talk -- and his discussion partner is Billy Bush, who's not exactly known as an expert in persuading interviewees to bare their souls. That was the point I was trying to make about Trump: that it takes little or no prodding to get him to talk like this. At the slightest nudge, he'll tell you in no uncertain terms what a sleazy horndog he is. And now it's going to kill him at the polls.
I'm less certain that Trump is going to suffer for saying that he still thinks the Central Park Five were guilty of rape, notwithstanding their exoneration based on DNA evidence. I live in New York, so it's hard to imagine how strong opinions are about the case in the rest of America, but Trump has lost most of non-white America already, and my guess is that most of white America will back him on this -- hey, those were the "wilding" kids, and they sure looked guilty to Middle Americans.
I'll add for the record that the lead prosecutor in the case, Linda Fairstein, who now writes bestselling crime novels, dug in her heels when DNA testing matched Matias Reyes, a man convicted of other rapes, to evidence collected at the crime scene (no DNA from any of the Five was linked to the rape):
But what, then, of Reyes's confession and the DNA results? Why wasn't he caught at the time? Fairstein said, “God knows I wish we had databanks of DNA that long ago, because we would have connected him.” She continued, “I think Reyes ran with that pack of kids. He stayed longer when the others moved on. He completed the assault. I don't think there is a question in the minds of anyone present during the interrogation process that these five men were participants, not only in the other attacks that night but in the attack on the jogger. I watched more than thirty detectives -- black, white, Hispanic guys who'd never met each other before -- conduct a brilliant investigation. Remember, I had a lot of cases with comatose victims. They wake up, more often than not. What's the likelihood that a sophisticated group of cops and prosecutors are going to make up a story that she can refute when she wakes up?” (The jogger recovered from her injuries, for the most part, but never remembered anything about the attack.)I don't think they made it up -- they had confessions (obtained under duress) and they may really have believed that the holes in their case weren't holes.
Law enforcement never likes to be challenged in matters like this. But just because these folks insist they were right all along doesn't make it true.
In any case, I'm sure soon enough we'll have Rudy Giuliani making Trump's and Fairstein's case all over the media.