For the last three nights, Fox News’ Sean Hannity has defended Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who was caught on a hot mic bragging about sexual assault, by saying that while the comments were shameful, they were only “words,” compared to the “actions” of the Clintons.
What will he do now that numerous women have come forward to accuse Trump of assaulting them in the exact fashion the nominee boasted about?
Hannity’s response to the release of a tape of Trump bragging in 2005 that he can “grab” women against their consent because he is a “star” has been to concede that the comments are indefensible, but to argue that they are just “words.” After making this initial dismissal, the Fox host pivots to contrasting the Trump tape with accusations of sexual assault that Bill Clinton has faced. Here’s what he said on his October 10 show:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): So going into last night's presidential showdown, there was a media firestorm over comments that Donald Trump made over 11 years ago. Look, nobody is going to defend what Donald Trump said. They shouldn't.
But here's the thing. Last night, we watched the debate, and those moderators needled and repeatedly pressed Donald Trump over his words from over a decade ago while completely ignoring the actions of Hillary Clinton and her husband against women that accused the president, the former president, of rape, sexual harassment and public shaming.
Now, here's the difference in all of this. Trump said offensive things, and he apologized, said he was sorry and embarrassed, while the Clintons actually did them and never apologized.
Trump already had a lengthy history of engaging in sexual harassment, and he had been accused of assault before -- which Hannity’s comments ignored. But last night, several women came forward and reported that they had been sexual assaulted by Trump, triggering a firestorm of coverage that Hannity will not be able to avoid. And Trump’s campaign has responded to these accusations by seeking to undermine the women’s stories -- stories about the very sorts of “actions” Hannity has accused the Clintons of perpetrating.
Tonight, Hannity is scheduled to interview three of Bill Clinton’s accusers. He was also scheduled to interview Trump himself, but apparently the campaign canceled that meeting.
Now that Hannity’s Trump defense has dissolved, what will he do? Have we finally reached a point where even Hannity is no longer capable of defending Trump?