After The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold uncovered 2005 audio and video in which Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump “bragged in vulgar terms about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women” media should be careful not to downplay Trump’s discussion of apparent sexual assault.
In the 2005 audio and video, Trump was captured on a hot microphone having a conversation with Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush in which he “discusses a failed attempt to seduce a woman” and says: “‘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.’”
As reported by Fahrenthold, Trump later added, “‘And when you’re a star they let you do it,’ Trump says. ‘You can do anything.’ ‘Whatever you want,’ says another voice, apparently Bush’s. ‘Grab them by the p---y,’ Trump says. ‘You can do anything.’”
The Trump campaign quickly issued a non-apologetic statement calling the remarks “locker room banter” -- an excuse and framing of the comments media should refuse to accept. Some media are already calling out Trump's self-described actions as descriptions of sexual assault. In covering Trump’s remarks, networks must go beyond a simple characterization of the comments as “lewd” or “vulgar,” and focus on the fact that Trump appears to be talking about imposing himself physically on women without consent.
From the October 7 edition of Fox News’ The Five:
From the October 7 edition of MSNBC’s MSNBC Live:
From the October 7 edition of CNN’s The Situation Room:
This is not the first time Trump has been accused of sexual assault or improper behavior in a work environment. Jill Harth -- a former business associate of Trump’s -- has made similar allegations in the past.