The Trump Team Defense
“Nobody has more respect for women than I do,” declared Donald Trump two days after the release of a 2005 Access Hollywood tape where Trump is heard bragging about sexually assaulting women.
“Nobody has more respect for women than I do,” declared Donald Trump at the third and final presidential debate, after nine women came forward accusing him of sexual assault.
Long before the 2005 Access Hollywood tape of Donald Trump bragging about groping women was released, the republican presidential candidate made many inappropriate and offensive comments about women, including name-calling, body shaming and objectification. He told Howard Stern in 2005 that a “person who is flat-chested is very hard to be a 10.” In a 2013 episode of “Celebrity Apprentice” Trump said to a female contestant, “it must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees.” In April 2015 he retweeted: “If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?” And that is just the short list.
Since the release of the now infamous tape, many women have come forward accusing the Republican presidential candidate of sexual assault. Trump’s response: none of it is true. Let's take a look at the Trump campaign's defensive tactics.
Trump Team defense: Just Words
During the second presidential debate, moderator Anderson Cooper asked Trump if he understood that his comments about groping women amounted to sexual assault. Trump said he has never sexually assaulted women; it was “just words” and “locker room talk.” Locker room talk became the go-to defense for Trump and his surrogates. Trump backers from Rudy Giuliani to Corey Lewandowski took to the phrase. Ben Carson said that he has heard a lot of locker room talk like Trump’s. Trump campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson said: “I have two brothers, I was in sports, so I was around a lot of athletes. This truly was two men who had what they thought was a private conversation talking about attractive women.”
Trump Team Defense: Bill Clinton
Donald Trump issued a formal apology following the release of the 2005 Access Hollywood tape assault via a very brief tape. Looking at the camera, Trump apologized for what he said, and then declared that “Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed, and intimidated his victims.”
The next step in the Trump team’s ‘Bill Clinton Defense’ was to hold an unannounced press conference with some of Bill Clinton’s accusers, including Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, and Juanita Broaddrick. Kathy Shelton, a woman who was raped by a factory worker that Hillary Clinton defended during her time as a public defendant, was there as well. He then invited these women as his VIP guests at the debate that night. I think it is important to note here that after the Trump campaign accused the Clinton campaign of “treating women to suit their own political ends,” Donald Trump holds a press conference where he uses women to suit his own political end. Just an obeservation.
Later that night, during the second presidential debate, Trump pivoted to Bill Clinton again. When asked about the Access Hollywood Tape, Trump said, “Hillary was married to the single greatest abuser of women in the history of politics.” (Anthony Weiner or Elliot Spitzer, anyone?)
Trump Team Defense: Question All Credibility
The tape and the allegations were “just words.” They were a distraction from the real issues of importance to the American people. Bill Clinton did far worse. But what about the women accusing Donald Trump of sexual assault? What about Jessica Leeds who says Donald Trump groped her on a plane in the early 1980’s? What about Natasha Stoynoff of People Magazine who said Trump pushed her against a wall, “forcing his tongue down my throat?”
They are lies propagated by the Clinton campaign and the libelous media. The claims are “preposterous, ludicrous, and defy truth, common sense, and logic.” They are a part of a broad and “concerted, coordinated, and vicious attack” against Donald Trump. Don’t you see? Donald Trump is the victim here. He is the victim just like Bill Clinton was a victim when he was in the middle of his own sexual abuse scandal of his own. At least that is what Donald Trump told Fox and Friends in 1998 when he said that the former President was “really a victim himself.” The establishment and the media are out to get Donald Trump and they will stop at nothing to make sure Hillary Clinton is elected President.
The women alleging that Donald Trump sexually assaulted them are lying. The media is lying. But the women alleging that Bill Clinton sexually assaulted them are telling the truth, and the media will not listen to them. At a campaign rally in Pennsylvania Trump said this about the press conference with Bill Clinton’s victims: “We brought four wonderful women to St. Louis and, honestly, it was both very beautiful and very sad. They’ve been trying to get their feelings out for so long, and the media wouldn’t take it.” Three days later at a rally in Florida Trump said this about the allegations against him: “These vicious claims about me of inappropriate conduct with women are totally and absolutely false ... These attacks are orchestrated by the Clintons and their media allies.” So listen to the women accusing Bill Clinton of sexual assault; discredit the women accusing Trump of sexual assault. Got it.
The list of excuses goes on and on. The women are not nearly attractive enough to sexually assault. Speaking about Jessica Leeds Trump said her story was not true because, "believe me, she would not be my first choice.” The abuse allegations happened so long ago that they do not count. Donald Trump is an “alpha male” so this is how he speaks. These women want to be famous, of course! Oh, and ISIS. The truth is that making excuses, changing the narrative, and projecting issues onto others has become a pervasive pattern for the Trump campaign. His apologies are weak, his excuses are baseless, and he continues to evade taking any responsibility for anything. How will this line of defense will hold up as we get closer to the election? Only time will tell.