The Washington Post dropped a public relations nuclear bomb on Donald Trump Friday.
The Back Story
An Access Hollywood producer unearthed taped comments made in 2005 between Donald Trump and Billy Bush while Trump’s mic was hot. Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold obtained a copy of it and published a story Friday afternoon.
In the video, Trump said some atrocious things about how he sexually assaults women.
Watching the video gives me the urge to go all MST3K or director’s cut movie version, because there are so many shockingly offensive comments made in three minutes’ time, you must press pause to react and avoid missing the next cringe-worthy comment.
Although their primary goal is comedy, the Saturday Night Live writers nailed all of the key points in the awfulness that is the hot mic video. Take a moment to watch this portion of Weekend Update.
1. Tic Tacs took a stance.
In the video, Trump popped Tic Tacs in his mouth and said, “I better use some Tic Tacs in case I start kissing her,” referring to the actress who is escorting him to a soap opera set. Then he explains his sexual advances toward women he finds beautiful.
In a true testament to how badly everyone wants to distance themselves from Trump’s comments, Tic Tac took to Twitter:
Tic Tac respects all women. We find the recent statements and behavior completely inappropriate and unacceptable.
— Tic Tac USA (@TicTacUSA) October 8, 2016
2. Billy Bush outted as a cad.
He is heard giggling, clapping and egging on Trump throughout the video. We all know the uncomfortable laughter when you’re with someone who’s out of line, and then there’s the giggly laughter when you’re getting a kick out of, and in agreement with, what’s being said. Billy sounds like the latter. His actions make me envision him as the frat boy who’s patting the back of his bro who just took advantage of a drunk girl. He’s certainly not the only bro who would willingly participate in such sleazy, objectifying conversation, but the difference is there is video proof of him doing it.
As a result, he issued an apology for his behavior. There has been buzz online about whether he will lose his new gig with the Today show as a result of this tape, and his situation remains fluid. First, it was said Bush would address his comments today on the Today show. Then NBC executives asked Bush to “take a break” from the Today show, according to the LA Times.
As of this morning, Noah Oppenheim, NBC executive in charge of Today, said this in a memo to staff: “NBC has decided to suspend Billy, pending further review of this matter,” according to the New York Times.
3. Trump apologized.
“I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize,” Trump said in a video statement.
It was the right thing to do, from a human standpoint, and a PR standpoint. But then he screwed it all up by deflecting.
“Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims,” Trump went on to say. “We will discuss this more in the coming days.”
I liken this to the argument a kid makes for getting caught doing something he shouldn’t have done: “But Billy did it, too!”
It doesn’t fly with parents and it shouldn’t fly with us.
4. Nancy O’Dell broke her silence.
Trump tells Bush in this video about having tried to have sex with O’Dell, who was Bush’s co-host at the time. O’Dell released a statement on Saturday:
“Politics aside, I’m saddened that these comments still exist in our society at all. When I heard the comments yesterday, it was disappointing to hear such objectification of women. The conversation needs to change because no female, no person, should be the subject of such crass comments, whether or not cameras are rolling. Everyone deserves respect no matter the setting or gender. As a woman who has worked very hard to establish her career, and as a mom, I feel I must speak out with the hope that as a society we will always strive to be better.”
5. Republicans began jumping ship.
This number is almost certain to change by the time I publish this post, but as of the publication of this Washington Post article, three dozen high-profile Republicans have withdrawn their support for Trump.
6. Mike Pence wouldn’t be a surrogate.
The vice presidential nominee said Saturday he “cannot defend” Trump’s comments about women, the LA Times reported. He also cancelled a Wisconsin campaign stop where he was scheduled to fill in for Trump.
“As a husband and father, I was offended by the words and actions described by Donald Trump in the 11-year-old video,” Pence said. “I do not condone his remarks and cannot defend them. … We pray for his family and look forward to the opportunity he has to show what is in his heart when he goes before the nation tomorrow night.”
Is this the beginning of the end for Trump?
This leaked video proves that actions have consequences, even if they are delayed 11 years. Logically, I want to say yes, it’s the beginning of the end. But nothing in this election cycle has made sense, so why start now? I need only look at friends’ Facebook comments to have my hopes dashed.
“I’m more worried about what Hillary has done than what Trump has said. #justmyopinion“
“I know what he said was wrong but there is not a man in this world that hasn’t said or thought the same thing at one time or another. I would rather vote for Trump then a murdering, lying piece of trash like Hilary Clinton.”
“I do not agree with his comments, they were crude and vulgar I agree but what I will say is it wasn’t for the public to see. He was recorded without knowledge possibly and as much as I can’t stand it men talk like that at times with one another.”
That last statement has stuck with me the most. A definition of integrity shared with me when I was in the military was, “Doing the right thing even when no one else is looking.” I can’t get around the fact that my friend comes off as defending a person’s lack of integrity, and that’s a tough one for me to take.
It has little place on this blog, but I’m throwing this out there: I’m casting my vote for Gary Johnson this year. I’m doing a great deal of research. I hope you will do the same before casting your ballot.