Writer Soraya Chemaly and law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw analyze the significance of the 2005 videotape showing Donald Trump boasting about sexually assaulting women. The three-minute video, recorded by NBC’s “Access Hollywood” in 2005, was released Friday by The Washington Post. “I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her,” Trump says in the video. “You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. I just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
AMY GOODMAN: Welcome to Democracy Now!, democracynow.org. This is “War, Peace and the Presidency.” I’m Amy Goodman.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: In an hour, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will take the stage at Washington University in St. Louis for their second of three debates before next month’s election. The debate is occurring two days after The Washington Post uncovered a shocking video from 2005 of Trump talking on an open microphone about groping women. In the tape, he’s heard saying, quote, “When you’re a star … you can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”
Beginning at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time, we’ll bring you the Trump-Clinton debate and expand the debate by giving Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein a chance to respond to the same questions posed to the major-party candidates. Stein and Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson were excluded from the debate under stringent rules set by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which is controlled by the Democratic and Republican parties. We invited both Stein and Johnson to join us on the program; only Stein took us up on the offer.
AMY GOODMAN: But first, Nermeen Shaikh and I will host a roundtable discussion looking at the state of the race as scores of congressmembers, senators and Republican leaders are now calling for Trump to step down. But before we introduce our guests, we’re going to play the full unedited 2005 tape of Donald Trump that’s shaken up the presidential race. This video is unaired footage from NBC’s Access Hollywood of Trump and TV host Billy Bush speaking on a bus before Trump appeared on the soap opera Days of Our Lives. It was released on Friday night. All the networks have been airing it. A warning to our audience: This video is vulgar, and it contains very disturbing language.
UNIDENTIFIED: She’s still very beautiful.
DONALD TRUMP: I moved on her, actually. You know, she was down in Palm Beach. I moved on her. And I failed. I’ll admit it.
DONALD TRUMP: I did try and [bleep]. She was married.
UNIDENTIFIED: That’s huge news there!
DONALD TRUMP: No, no, Nancy. No, this was—and I moved on her very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping. She wanted to get some furniture. I said, “I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture.” I took her out furniture—I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her; she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.
BILLY BUSH: Sheesh, your girl’s hot as [bleep]. In the purple.
DONALD TRUMP: Whoa!
BILLY BUSH: Yes!
DONALD TRUMP: Whoa!
BILLY BUSH: Yes! The Donald has scored!
DONALD TRUMP: Whoa!
BILLY BUSH: Whoa, my man! Wait, wait, you’ve got to look at me when you get out and be like—
UNIDENTIFIED: Just remember who set this up. Just remember.
BILLY BUSH: Will you give me the thumbs up?
DONALD TRUMP: That is very funny. Look at you. You are a pussy.
BILLY BUSH: You’ve got to put the thumbs up. You’ve got to give the thumbs up.
UNIDENTIFIED: You can’t be too happy, man.
BILLY BUSH: You’ve got to give the thumbs up.
DONALD TRUMP: All right, you and I will walk in.
BILLY BUSH: Oh, my god!
DONALD TRUMP: Maybe it’s a different one.
BILLY BUSH: It better not be the publicist. No, it’s her. It’s her.
DONALD TRUMP: Yeah, that’s her, with the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. I just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
BILLY BUSH: Whatever you want.
DONALD TRUMP: Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.
BILLY BUSH: Look at those legs. All I can see is the legs.
DONALD TRUMP: Oh, looks good.
BILLY BUSH: Come on, shorty.
DONALD TRUMP: Ooh, nice legs, huh?
BILLY BUSH: Oof, get out of the way, honey. Oh, that’s good legs. Go ahead.
DONALD TRUMP: It’s always good if you don’t fall out of the bus. Like Ford, Gerald Ford. Remember?
BILLY BUSH: Down below. Pull the handle.
DONALD TRUMP: Hello. How are you? Hi.
ARIANNE ZUCKER: Hi, Mr. Trump. How are you? Pleasure to meet you.
DONALD TRUMP: Nice seeing you.
ARIANNE ZUCKER: Pleasure to meet you.
DONALD TRUMP: Terrific. Terrific. You know Billy Bush?
ARIANNE ZUCKER: How are you?
BILLY BUSH: Hello. Nice to see you. How are you doing, Arianne?
ARIANNE ZUCKER: I’m doing very well. Thank you. Are you ready to be a soap star?
DONALD TRUMP: We’re ready. Let’s go. Make me a soap star.
BILLY BUSH: How about a little hug for the Donald? He just got off the bus.
ARIANNE ZUCKER: Would you like a little hug, darling?
DONALD TRUMP: OK, absolutely. Melania said this was OK.
BILLY BUSH: How about a little hug for the Bushy? I just got off the bus.
ARIANNE ZUCKER: Oh, Bushy, Bushy.
BILLY BUSH: There we go. Excellent. Well, you’ve got a nice co-star here.
ARIANNE ZUCKER: Yes, absolutely.
DONALD TRUMP: Good. After you. Come on, Billy. Don’t be shy.
BILLY BUSH: As soon as a beautiful woman shows up, he just—he takes off on me. This always happens.
DONALD TRUMP: Get over here, Billy.
ARIANNE ZUCKER: I’m sorry. Come here.
BILLY BUSH: Let the little guy in here. Come on.
ARIANNE ZUCKER: Yeah, let the little guy in. How you feel now? Better?
BILLY BUSH: It’s hard to walk next to a guy like this.
ARIANNE ZUCKER: I should actually be in the middle. Here, wait. Hold on.
BILLY BUSH: Yeah, you get in the middle. There we go.
DONALD TRUMP: Good. That’s better.
ARIANNE ZUCKER: This is much better. This is—
DONALD TRUMP: That’s better.
BILLY BUSH: Now, if you had to choose, honestly, between one of us—me or the Donald—who would it be?
DONALD TRUMP: I don’t know. That’s tough competition.
ARIANNE ZUCKER: That’s some pressure right there.
BILLY BUSH: Seriously, you had to take one of us as a date.
ARIANNE ZUCKER: I have to take the Fifth on that one.
BILLY BUSH: Really?
ARIANNE ZUCKER: Yup. I’ll take both.
DONALD TRUMP: Which way?
ARIANNE ZUCKER: Make a right. Here we go. Right on The Days.
BILLY BUSH: Here he goes. I’m going to leave you here.
DONALD TRUMP: OK.
BILLY BUSH: Give me my microphone.
DONALD TRUMP: OK. You’re going to—oh, you’re finished?
NERMEEN SHAIKH: That was the 2005 video of Donald Trump that has shaken up the presidential election. In his first response to the video, Trump said, quote, “Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course—not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.” Trump later recorded a video apology.
DONALD TRUMP: I’ve never said I’m a perfect person nor pretended to be someone that I’m not. I’ve said and done things I regret. And the words released today on this more than a decade-old video are one of them. Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize.
I’ve traveled the country talking about change for America, but my travels have also changed me. I’ve spent time with grieving mothers who have lost their children, laid-off workers whose jobs have gone to other countries, and people from all walks of life who want a better future. I have gotten to [know the great people of our country. And I’ve been humbled by the faith they’ve placed in me. I] pledge to be a better man tomorrow and will never, ever let you down.
Let’s be honest. We’re living in the real world. This is nothing more than a distraction from the important issues we are facing today. We are losing our jobs, we are less safe than we were eight years ago, and Washington is totally broken. Hillary Clinton and her kind have run our country into the ground.
I’ve said some foolish things, but there’s a big difference between the words and actions of other people. Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims. We will discuss this more in the coming days. See you at the debate on Sunday.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: That was the video that Trump released late on Friday night. Trump is now facing a number of calls to step down as the Republican Party’s nominee. Fifteen Republican senators, including former Republican presidential nominee John McCain, are now openly opposing Trump’s candidacy. The highest-ranking Republican woman in Congress condemned his comments. Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state said, quote, “It is never appropriate to condone unwanted sexual advances or violence against women. Mr. Trump must realize that it has no place in public or private conversations.” Donald Trump has rejected calls to step down.
AMY GOODMAN: Donald Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, said, quote, “As a husband and a father, I was offended by the words and actions described by Donald Trump in the 11-year-old video released yesterday. I do not condone his remarks and cannot defend them. I am grateful that he has expressed remorse and apologized to the American people. 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,” unquote.
More attention is also being paid to other reports of Trump’s mistreatment of women. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has written a piece titled “Donald Trump, Groper in Chief.” It details the claims of a Florida business associate of Trump who sued him for sexual harassment after he groped her at a business dinner and later attempted to sexually assault her in the empty bedroom of his daughter Ivanka in Florida.
To talk more about the Trump tape and its significance, we’re joined by a number of people. We start with Soraya Chemaly, who is joining us from Washington, D.C. She is a writer and journalist who covers the intersection of gender and politics.
Soraya, welcome back to Democracy Now! Share your response to this tape and what is happening online right now and what you feel is the significance of it.
SORAYA CHEMALY: I think that the significant aspect of this tape is the outrage that it’s generated in the Republican Party, which I think is largely being miscategorized. There’s nothing in particular revealing about this videotape. It says more about why people are responding the way they are, but a specific set of people, right? What we’re really talking about are the people who are in charge of the Republican Party. And their response at this point, it seems to me, is a fairly viscerally selfish one. They’re worried about Senate and House seats that might be lost, and I also think they’re worried about what the exposure of that private conversation says about their generally paternalistic approach to thinking and talking and legislating women’s lives.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you respond to the language that Donald Trump used, what exactly he said he was doing, the issue of, well, what people are calling—and this includes a number of Republicans—sexual assault and being a sexual predator?
SORAYA CHEMALY: So, he describes women as bits and pieces—legs, arms, tits. He talks about grabbing them without their consent. He very, very easily and casually displays the kind of extremely toxic male sexual entitlement that women have to navigate all day every day, that we start navigating when we’re children. And he does all of this, and then he walks out of this bus with Billy Bush, and they make a quiet mockery of the woman that they’re greeting. And I think that entire package, together, says a great deal about this useful division that we have in our society between what is public and what is private. It has, for a very, very long time, protected conversations like those. And we’re supposed to go along with the idea that these are unrelated, that the way a man like Trump behaves in private should be kept secret or should be thought of as not publicly relevant, when very clearly it’s critically important to understand.
The thing about what Trump did, though, is he used grossly dehumanizing language, which didn’t break the mold of any history of Republican legislators talking about women’s bodies. I mean, they may not sexualize them and use the kind of vulgar language that he did, but when debates happen about immigration or about women’s reproductive rights, we often, as we did two weeks ago in the debate about the Hyde Amendment, hear women being compared to dogs or mules or pigs or farm animals, and that, too, is a dehumanization. So it’s not that distant from what Trump did. Secondly, he is really fundamentally talking about disregarding women, their desires, their needs, their expressed preferences and their consent. And those kind of ideas drive a lot of the Republican agenda when it comes to talking about social policies and political policies that profoundly shape women’s lives without their participation.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, I’d like to bring in Kimberlé Crenshaw, professor of law at UCLA and at Columbia University. She’s the founder of the African American Policy Forum and a V-Day board member. Welcome to Democracy Now!, Kimberlé.
KIMBERLÉ CRENSHAW: Thanks.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Can you talk about what you think the impact will be of these tapes on tonight’s debate and, in particular, the speculation that Trump is expected to bring up Hillary’s alleged role in discrediting women who accused her husband, Bill Clinton, of sexual abuse?
KIMBERLÉ CRENSHAW: Yeah. Well, this is unprecedented in American politics. The closest thing that I can ever remember to this was the war of the sexes that happened in the ’70s, when Bobby Riggs goaded Billie Jean King into a tennis match—right?—to challenge women, whether they had the right to be considered equal. But that pales in comparison, because that was basically just for bragging rights. This is for the job of being the leader of the so-called free world.
So, at the center of this debate is the predation of one of the candidates, the long history—this is not new, as everybody has pointed out—of a presidential candidate who has shown nothing but disdain for not just women, but for the general parameters of legitimate public discourse. I mean, to be [inaudible] presidential debate and to call out another woman like Rosie O’Donnell as being a loser, to go on to talk about other candidates being unattractive, to be [inaudible]—presidential. She has to appear congenial. She has to be calm under pressure.
Now, these are not things that are unusual for any woman to deal with. We see many examples of women having to deal with sexist bossed, philandering husbands, wailing children, all while appearing to be calm under pressure. But what adds to this is [inaudible] he is likely to try to pull her into a deeply personal and obviously hurtful situation with her husband. And she’s—she’s really in a Catch-22, because, on one hand, part of the rape culture in which he is operating is meant to blame women for the philandering of their husbands. The other side side of it, of course, is, if she had left him, she would have been blamed for that. So, we know that this is a very, very difficult line that she has to walk.
It is true that the election seems largely to be over. But at the same time, this is not without risk for Hillary Clinton. She really has to be able to step into this. She has to make—make a space for Republican refugees. And that’s going to be a challenge. And she’s got to, at the same time, really motivate the base, because this is really going to be about turnout, especially in areas that are undergoing vote repression.
AMY GOODMAN: Professor—Professor Crenshaw—
KIMBERLÉ CRENSHAW: So, it’s a major moment.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go to a number of clips that are now coming out and, it seems, that we’re going to start hearing and watching a lot more. This is September 2004, an interview, when Donald Trump appeared on The Howard Stern Show. Stern asked Trump if he can call his daughter Ivanka a piece of ass. Trump responded by saying, “Yeah.”
DONALD TRUMP: Beautiful Ivanka, she—
HOWARD STERN: By the way, your daughter.
DONALD TRUMP: She’s beautiful.
HOWARD STERN: A piece—can I say this? A piece of ass.
DONALD TRUMP: Yeah. She’s—
HOWARD STERN: Boy, I would back up the Brinks truck. Introduce me to her.
AMY GOODMAN: Two years before, in 2002, Donald Trump appeared on The Howard Stern Show and called 30 the perfect age for women. He described 35 as, quote, “checkout time.”
HOWARD STERN: How old is Melania?
DONALD TRUMP: Melania is 30.
HOWARD STERN: [inaudible].
ROBIN QUIVERS: Everybody’s 30. What is this?
DONALD TRUMP: It’s a good age. Howard, it’s a great age for you and I.
HOWARD STERN: It is. You know what? Think about it. Take your age. I don’t know how old you are now. I’m 48. You put it in half, and then you subtract seven. And that’s how old [inaudible].
UNIDENTIFIED: I wouldn’t be flying in helicopters, Howard, if I was you.
DONALD TRUMP: Yeah, it was always very embarrassing. Like, you know, for the last couple years, I’d go out with somebody, and she’s like 21, and she’s talking about, you know, what are you doing, and she’s studying algebra.
HOWARD STERN: So what?
DONALD TRUMP: It was always embarrassing for me to walk in. It’s too young. Thirty is like a perfect age.
HOWARD STERN: Absolutely. She’s had enough life experience.
UNIDENTIFIED: Until she’s 35.
HOWARD STERN: Yeah.
ROBIN QUIVERS: Don’t ever change. Don’t ever change.
HOWARD STERN: Too much—too much life experience.
DONALD TRUMP: What is it at 35, Howard? It’s called checkout time.
AMY GOODMAN: In April of 2005, Donald Trump appeared on The Howard Stern Show and was asked if he ever had sex with a Miss Universe or Miss U.S.A. contestant.
HOWARD STERN: When you were single—
DONALD TRUMP: Right.
HOWARD STERN: —and you own this pageant, you go over, you look—you’re meeting the girls. One of them comes up to you and says, “Mr. Trump, you’re a very sexy man.”
DONALD TRUMP: “You’re a beautiful man. You have fantastic hair.”
HOWARD STERN: “Well, you’re a powerful man, right? Right? You’re a powerful man.”
DONALD TRUMP: Right.
HOWARD STERN: “I want to sleep with you.” Now, you’re not the type that would say no.
DONALD TRUMP: I don’t want to hurt their feelings.
HOWARD STERN: Right, no.
DONALD TRUMP: Right.
HOWARD STERN: But, I mean, you see a beautiful woman, you want to have that.
DONALD TRUMP: Right. Well, you certainly think—
HOWARD STERN: You’re a guy who likes to have everything, right?
ROBIN QUIVERS: Well, couldn’t that be construed, however, as—
HOWARD STERN: Conflict?
ROBIN QUIVERS: Yes.
HOWARD STERN: I don’t—I don’t see it as a conflict.
DONALD TRUMP: It could be a conflict of interest. But, you know, it’s the kind of thing you worry about later.
ROBIN QUIVERS: Oh, I see.
HOWARD STERN: Yeah.
DONALD TRUMP: You tend to think about the conflict a little bit later on.
UNIDENTIFIED: The question is: How can it not be construed?
HOWARD STERN: No, I mean—I mean, some of these foreign girls, you know, “Mr. Trump, in my country, we say hello with the vagina. And”—
DONALD TRUMP: Well, you could also say, as the owner of the pageant, it’s your obligation to do that.
HOWARD STERN: So you have done that? Now, tell me what—
DONALD TRUMP: Well, I’ll tell you, the funniest is that I’ll go backstage before a show.
HOWARD STERN: Yes.
DONALD TRUMP: And everyone’s getting dressed and ready and everything else. And, you know, no men are anywhere, and I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant, and therefore I’m inspecting it. You know, I’m inspecting.
ROBIN QUIVERS: Right, right.
DONALD TRUMP: I want to make sure that everything is good.
HOWARD STERN: You’re like a doctor. You’re there—
DONALD TRUMP: So, yeah, they’re dressing. “Is everyone OK?” You know, they’re standing there with no clothes. “Is everybody OK?” And you see these incredible-looking women. And so I sort of get away with things like that.
AMY GOODMAN: That’s Donald Trump in 2005. Soraya Chemaly, your response?
SORAYA CHEMALY: Well, again, I think this is well documented over years. He has an industry based on this treatment of women. And so, again, I come back to this idea of what is the source of this outrage. There really is literally nothing new. And some of it comes back to this idea of who do we trust, right? What we have now is a lot of men expressing outrage, a lot of conservative men expressing outrage. Women have been saying these things for a very long time. And even if they haven’t been saying them out loud, they’ve been experiencing them.
So, I think a lot of this has to do, in a somewhat ironic way, with what they might call identity politics, because Donald Trump is exhibiting the ugliest, crassest, most predatory version of—or flip side, rather, of benevolent sexism—right?—of the paternalism that drives the bargain that many men that are conservative leaders have made. And that bargain is, more or less, we will protect you women, and in exchange for that, we get power. But if that protection is fraudulent, if that protection is this corrupt, if that protection is this predatory, then what does that say about the legitimacy of the power? And I don’t think we can really overstate that, because I think a lot of these responses have to do with a sense of shame, based on this association now with Donald Trump, and what the risk is to that core sense of power.
Again, he has been saying these things and doing these things. He’s been saying them unabashedly. And he’s also said other horribly egregious and hateful things. He’s xenophobic. He’s racist. He cannot seem to tell the truth from one sentence to the next. And so, again, I think that this moment in time is almost a last gasp of panic. I mean, really, what are they supposed to do with this candidate? And what he’s doing now by bringing women who have accused Bill Clinton into the room, which he has done in a press conference prior to this debate, is fall back on this idea that women belong in a different realm, that they compete among themselves in a world on their own, and that he, as a man, cannot directly compete as equals with a woman. I mean, he’s not running against Bill Clinton. He’s running against Hillary Clinton. But he can’t seem to find a way, in his worldview, to do that in a palatable way.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, the release of the video of Donald Trump discussing groping women has raised new questions about Trump’s persecution of the Central Park Five, a group of black and Latino teens who were wrongfully convicted of raping a female jogger in Central Park 25 years ago. Media coverage at that time portrayed them as guilty and used racially coded terms to describe them. Donald Trump took out full-page ads in four city newspapers calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty so they could be executed. Their convictions were vacated in 2002 when the real rapist came forward and confessed, after the five had already served jail terms of up to 13 years. In 2014, a federal judge approved a $41 million settlement for the group, with each of the five receiving around $1 million for each year they were wrongfully imprisoned. So, I’d like to ask you—
AMY GOODMAN: And we have a clip. We have a clip right now of—is it Raymond Santana, who was one of the Central Park Five.
RAYMOND SANTANA: I tried to get my life back together and put one foot in front of the other. But I didn’t—you know, I didn’t realize the social death that we were given as a sentence.
AMY GOODMAN: Now, I want to read from The Washington Post. This past week, “when confronted again with just how wrong he was about the Central Park Five,” you know, taking out these full-page ads calling for the—them to get the death penalty, “Trump not only refused to acknowledge widely reported and well-known facts or the court’s official actions in the case. He did not simply refuse to apologize: He described the men as guilty—again, I’m reading from The Washington Post—and then demonstrated, once again, that he is a master at the dark art of using long-standing racial fears, stereotypes and anxieties to advance his personal and political goals.” Professor Crenshaw, can you talk about this coming at the same time, like a day before, the video was released?
KIMBERLÉ CRENSHAW: A day before, yeah. So, I think this is the crux of the matter. It is abundantly clear this is a moment in which rape culture is being explored and, for once, at the center of the conversation. But the reality is that this is not just a product of rape culture. It’s a racist rape culture. And it’s a racist rape culture, obviously, for a couple reasons. Number one, it is abundantly clear that no African-American candidate would have been viable if he had had the track record that Donald Trump had. If he had said he owned women in a beauty pageant, if he had talked about his anatomy, if he had talked about the attractiveness of his daughter or having sex with his wives, he would not have been palatable. So, number one, these are not just rantings of a sexist or a chauvinist or elitist playboy. This has whiteness at the core of an exercise of ability to do these things.
Then you add to that this story from last week, which basically hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. So, effectively, five young men of color might well have been executed for something that they did not do, if Donald Trump had had his way. Rather than seeing this as a moment to reflect, along the lines that he said in his apology—he’s grown, he’s learned, he’s seen new things—rather than walking that back, he doubles down on the idea that these young men should have actually perhaps confronted the death penalty, even after the criminal justice system, as it rarely does, acknowledges that it was an illegitimate conviction. So, it’s this tried and true idea that we’ve seen many, many times before, from the Scottsboro Boys, nine young men who themselves faced possible death by an illegitimate prosecution, all the way to today, the idea being that “Don’t look at what I do. My sexual predatory behavior is for me to do. But for men of color across history, they are the ones that carry the burden of the idea of being the rapists.” So, it’s about rape culture.
And, of course, the last thing that we cannot forget is that women and girls of color who are sexually abused never come into Donald Trump’s framework of those who he wants to defend. The very week that the Central Park jogger was raped, 28 other women were raped, most of them women of color. One was thrown down an elevator shaft. The resources and attention that he could have directed to making women safe ends up being an expression of bloodlust. That’s a part of our history that many of us thought that we had gotten away from—until Donald Trump ran for president.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you very much for being with us, Kimberlé Crenshaw, professor of law at UCLA and Columbia University, founder of the African American Policy Forum and a V-Day board member. I also want to thank Soraya Chemaly, who is the journalist who covered the intersection of gender and politics, speaking to us from Washington, D.C.