Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump found himself in hot water on Friday, after a 2005 hot mic video surfaced, giving viewers (and voters) a first person look into the mind of a younger Mr. Trump.
It wasn’t pretty – the video caught Trump referring to engaging in vulgar and non-consensual sexual acts with “beautiful women,” despite his recent marriage to current wife Melania Trump. After hours of public outcry, Trump finally issued an apology late Friday night.
“I’ve never said I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone that I’m not,” he said in an apology video. “I’ve said and done things that I regret, and the words released today on this more than a decade old video are one of them.”
His apology framed his remarks as "foolish" words and emphasized that his campaign has changed him from the man he was before. Notably, it did not include an apology to any of the women he had discussed in the video, the recipients of his unwanted advances.
In the 2005 video, Trump told Billy Bush of Access Hollywood that he could do what he wanted with women because of his stardom.
After discussing a failed attempt at an affair with an unnamed attractive woman, Trump spotted an attractive actress in the studio where he spoke with Mr. Bush.
“I’ve got to use some Tic-Tacs, just in case I start kissing her,” Trump said in the video. “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful – I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”
Trump’s problems with female voters are nothing new, but these remarks, seen by many as a bald admission of his disregard for consent, may drive those numbers lower. In March, The Christian Science Monitor’s Peter Grier reported on the candidate’s struggles to attract women to his campaign:
The Donald’s image among women in general, and Republican women in particular, is historically bad and getting worse. The GOP is already struggling to attract minority voters. Trump threatens to layer an unprecedented gender gap onto this racial divide.
For instance, in a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 47 percent of Republican female voters agreed that they “could not imagine themselves voting for Trump.” In other words, almost half the women in Trump’s own party don’t like him. A lot.
Trump has been criticized time and again for the language he uses to describe women, and the numerous comments he has made about the physical appearances of high-profile women with whom he interacts. The 2005 video, however, has thrown Trump’s track record of sexually objectifying women into sharp relief.
The backlash against the video, which was first reported by the Washington Post, was strong from members of both parties. Representatives of both parties have said they expect the scandal to come up during Sunday night’s scheduled debate between Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
A small group of Republicans say that Trump’s comments were so offensive that he should choose to withdraw from the election and let another candidate take up the banner of the Republican party.
Sen. Mike Lee (R) of Utah spoke on a live Facebook video feed about his disgust and impatience with the Republican candidate’s behavior.
And while others have not yet issued the same calls for Trump’s resignation, they say that his behavior is "abhorrent" and that they cannot support him in good faith.
“It is some of the most abhorrent and offensive comments that you can possibly imagine,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) of Utah told Fox13. “That was an apology for getting caught, that was not an apology for the behavior.”
Some Democrats, too, say that this could spell the end of Trump’s campaign.
“For the good of the country, I hope that my Republican colleagues do not try to circle the wagons around a man who brags about sexually assaulting women," said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada. "Never in history has a party nominated someone more unfit to be president."