Sexual Assault Allegations for Trump
by The Milton Measure on Friday, October 21st, 2016
Trump’s rocky presidential campaign has been smeared by a plethora of controversies, ranging from his sketchy business history to his bigoted comments on a variety of marginalized groups in American society. His most recent, and perhaps most damaging controversy, pertains to his attitude towards and tainted history with women.
A scandalous Access Hollywood video clip of Trump recorded in 2005 was published by the Washington Post on Saturday, October 8th. The video reveals a lewd conversation between Donald Trump and his colleague Billy Bush (former reporter and TV host on NBC) in which they discuss a female co-worker, Arianne Zucker. Trump is recorded making a variety of crude comments regarding his sexual advances towards a married Zucker.
On tape, Trump claims to have taken Zucker furniture shopping with the desire to “fuck her” even though she was married. He then proceeds to explain how he is naturally drawn to “beautiful,” further explaining his impulse to automatically kiss beautiful women. Gloating proudly how he can freely “grab them by the pussy,” Trump continues to blatantly brag about how women simply allow him to kiss and fondle them without permission.
People have reacted to this heinous video in drastically different ways. Many avid Trump supporters have or have attempted to dismiss the severity of the comments. Trump immediately tried damage control by releasing a public video statement later that evening, in which he recited an apology for his comments. After his brief apology admitting his imperfections and insisting that the tape does not reflect his personality, Trump shrugged off the video as a “distraction from the issues of the day,” and instead sought reorient the focus towards policy instead of controversy. Trump topped off the video statement by attacking the former president Bill Clinton for his promiscuous history and the various sexual assault accusations against him.
Many were taken aback by the decade-old footage. Hillary Clinton and her running mate, Tim Kaine, slammed Trump and expressed their disdain and disgust regarding the footage both on Twitter and on the campaign trail.
Trump’s own party even attacked him. Leading Republicans encouraged Trump to remove his name from the ballot. Senior GOP figures, such as Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), former Republican presidential nominee and Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney, and even Trump’s running-mate Governor Mike Pence, expressed their distaste and condemnation for Trump’s past actions.
House Speaker and Republican Paul Ryan, who has a very testy relationship with Mr. Trump, decreed that he would no longer campaign for or defend Trump. Instead, Ryan promised to dedicate himself to ensuring Republican control of the House and Senate. Many other Republican lawmakers have begun to renounce their support for their party’s nominee. Targeting Paul Ryan by tweeting on Monday, October 10th that Ryan should spend more time “balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time fighting the Republican nominee,” Trump responded to the criticisms with his usual ferocity. This conflict has started a civil war within the Republican party.
Since this controversy surfaced only one day before the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Trump entered the debate on the backfoot. In an attempt to mitigate the attention on his controversy, he held a press conference with four women who have claimed to be sexually assaulted by Bill Clinton and proceeded to invite them as guests to the debate.
Trump was hammered during the early minutes of the debate for the scandal. As Anderson Cooper peppered Trump with inquiries regarding his history with women and sexual assault, Trump avoided the topic by attempting to discuss issues of policy. In one particular case, Trump responded to a question regarding the scandal by explaining his plan to confront ISIS. But as the tense and toxic debate grinded along, Trump did manage to regain some control and question Clinton on a variety of issues. Yet, many agree that Clinton won the debate. A CNN poll conducted just after the debate showed that 57% of those polled believed Hillary Clinton won the debate. Nevertheless, Trump still claimed he won the debate by “landslide” margins.
This recent controversy has certainly disrupted Trump’s recent progress. His poll numbers are dropping, especially amongst women. Many undecided voters are finding it more and more difficult to stomach the idea of casting their vote for Trump. This 2-minute video may have just put Trump’s presidential hopes out of reach. However, in this wacky presidential campaign, nothing is for sure until the dust settles on November 8th – not November 28th as Trump suggested to one of his rallies.
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