This weekend’s news is all about Donald Trump and the leaked video from 2005 in which he made vulgar comments about women. He has lost the support of many Republicans (John McCain, Paul Ryan, and Reince Prebius among them), his own running mate has said he can not defend the comments, and even his wife, Melania, has called them offensive. Opinions on the matter are all over social media, running anywhere from “there is no excuse for what he said” to Trump’s defense of “it was locker-room banter.” There is no excuse for his language, but there is a deeper reason his words on that tape are especially horrendous. Let’s look at some facts and see what they tell us.
This is not the first time Donald Trump has been accused of being disrespectful to women. Take a look at these videos.
And then there are the clips of various Trump appearances on The Howard Stern Show that have been posted on CNN. They are full of derogatory comments about women.
And more from Mother Jones who cited, among other things, part of one of Trump’s appearances on The Howard Stern Show.
“Stern began this part of the discussion by saying to Trump, ‘You once said that the best way to treat a woman is to treat her like doody.’ The conversation continued:
Trump: No, I never said that…It was attributed to me.
Stern: But I’ll tell you something: I agree with that statement.
Stern: They don’t listen otherwise. I tell you, women are troublemakers…So you never did say that?
Trump: No, I never said that, but it was attributed to me.
Stern: So you treat women with respect?
Trump: I can’t say that, either.
Trump quickly added, ‘I treat women with great respect.’ Yet the two were not done with this subject. A few moments later, Stern asked Trump whether Marla Maples, his girlfriend at the time, would be upset if he were to see other women. Trump said, ‘Probably not.’ Stern exclaimed, ‘Unbelievable!’ And Trump tried to explain:
Trump: You said that women like being treated badly.
Stern: Yes, so the more they think you’re desirable, the more they will go for you.
Trump: There’s something to that. It’s sick, isn’t it?”
And the list goes on. There’s much more. Take a few minutes to Google “Donald Trump’s comments about women” or search the same phrase on YouTube. It won’t take long to find many examples of his derogatory comments about women.
Then on Friday, the leaked tape of his conversation about women with Billy Bush on the Access Hollywood bus. It was filthy, vulgar, objectifying, inexcusable language. His explanation? He called it “locker-room banter.” Trump has apologized twice. Kind of. Here’s his first apology, as reported by the Washington Post.
“This was locker-room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course — not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.”
This is a man apologizing if he offended anyone. IF. Because he didn’t find it offensive because it was “locker-room banter, a private conversation.” Anyway, Bill Clinton has said worse things to him in private conversations, so don’t get upset with him. Get upset with Bill Clinton. Well, Mr. Trump, there are many things Bill Clinton has done that anger women and that are also far from acceptable. But he isn’t running for president. You are. And your attitude of not really seeing a problem with what you said is a problem. Here’s the second apology.
This is the apology that the people running his campaign told him to make. The first was from his gut. This one was likely scripted.
Let’s be completely clear on why the video is so infuriating. It shows a pattern. It reinforces what many already believed about Donald Trump. Women are objects to be conquered. There are no boundaries. He’s rich so he can do what he wants with whatever women he wants when he wants and they will go along. It’s sick. Nonconsensual contact with a woman is assault and NEVER acceptable. Yes, the video was made 11 years ago, but there is plenty of evidence that his views have not changed. And his first apology in which he said he apologized IF anyone was offended indicates he doesn’t see a problem with it, but is sorry if anyone else does.
Now I have heard many people say something like “Put a mic on any of us during private conversations and you’ll hear something offensive.” Or “Most guys talk like this. Trump just got caught.” Or they support his “locker-room banter” defense. What a sad commentary on where we are as a culture if this is true. The attitude behind this kind of “locker-room banter” is reprehensible.
Yes, I am quite sure that if you put a mic on anyone, you will hear something you find offensive in a private conversation. Agreed. But if you heard the kind of talk used by Donald Trump in this video, taking offense would be totally appropriate. There is no defense for it.
As far as most guys talking like this and it being typical locker room banter — if that’s the case then we have a problem that goes way beyond Donald Trump. It is never acceptable to just start kissing a woman without her consent. It is never acceptable to continue to come on to a woman who has told you no. It is never acceptable to grab a woman’s genitalia because you’re attracted to her. Nonconsensual contact with women is never okay. There is nothing acceptable about any of this, and if there are people who think there is, we’re in a lot of trouble.
One more thing that has been on social media a lot since the video was leaked is that Trump is getting a lot of heat because he used “the p word.” No, no, no. It isn’t the word. There are people who find the word offensive, but the word is a small part of why the video is upsetting. It’s Donald Trump’s overall attitude toward women, one he has exhibited for years. It’s disgusting, unacceptable, and indefensible.
[Featured Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]