Donald Trump was recorded on a hot mic talking about trying to have sex with a married woman, saying “when you’re a star, they let you do it,” according to a 2005 video obtained by The Washington Post.
Trump was riding in an “Access Hollywood” bus with host Billy Bush, heading to the set of “Days of Our Lives” to talk about Trump’s cameo on the show.
“I moved on her actually, she was down in Palm Beach and I failed, I’ll admit it,” Trump says in the beginning of the video. “I did try to f*** her, she was married … and I moved on her very heavily.”
In a statement, Trump addressed the recording, saying:
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.
The recording was made several months after Trump’s wedding with Melania, according to the paper.
“I took her out furniture shopping. She wanted to get some furniture and I told her ‘I’ll show you where you can get some nice furniture,'” Trump is heard saying. “I moved on her like a b****, and I could not get there, and she was married. And all the sudden I see her and she’s got the big phony tits, she’s totally changed her look.”
Trump, who has been heavily criticized during the presidential debates for comments about women, tells Bush, “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”
“And when you’re a star they let you do it,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”
“Whatever you want,” says someone else, possibly Bush.
“Grab them by the p****,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”
Billy Bush issued a statement after the video went public Friday.
“Obviously I’m embarrassed and ashamed. It’s no excuse, but this happened eleven years ago — I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I’m very sorry.”
Stakes raised for debate
The comments immediately raised the stakes for Sunday’s highly anticipated debate between Trump and Clinton, and the remarks could hand her — and viewers in the town hall audience — more evidence to make that point.
And the remarks prompted Trump — for the first time in his nearly 16-month campaign — to apologize.
Clinton’s campaign tweeted a link to the story and said simply, “This is horrific. We cannot allow this man to become president.”
Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine, campaigning in Las Vegas, said Trump’s comments “makes me sick to my stomach.”
“I don’t like to say the words that he’s used in the past when he calls women, ‘pigs, dogs and slobs’ … but this is behavior that’s just outrageous and so that there would be a news story that would have more statements like this of this kind, I mean, gosh, I’m sad to say that I’m not surprised,” Kaine said. “I should be surprised and shocked. I’m sad to say that I’m not.”
A Clinton campaign source told CNN the campaign strategy in the wake of the tape will be to press Republicans to say if they still think Trump should be president.
“Not just condemn what he said — but that he should be POTUS,” the source said.
Reactions from GOP staffers and advisers to Trump ranged from astonished to apoplectic.
“No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a brief statement.
Journalists covering a Toledo, Ohio, campaign stop by Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, were ushered out of a restaurant soon after the story broke. The press was supposed to cover Pence looking at a wall of signed hot dogs, including one by Trump, but were later told they couldn’t record the moment.
A campaign staffer later told CNN the decision had “nothing to do with the news.”
He declined to answer a question about the matter when asked by a reporter following a campaign event in Rossford, Ohio.
A close adviser to Trump told CNN the story is “flat out appalling” and at this point, they can’t even begin to guess whether Trump can come back from this.
“This should have never happened. I wish it had never happened. I think I know that men talk this way sometimes, but it’s nothing I would ever want to hear or condone or approve of,” the adviser said. “My reaction is — it’s appalling. It’s just flat out appalling.”
The adviser also said Trump’s apology does not go far enough.
“Doing anything other than to say it was a grievous error and he apologizes would be a mistake,” the adviser said. “I would take it a step further and own to the words as being offensive — not ‘if.'”
The adviser, clearly exasperated, added: “Another day in Trump world … I hate it.”
Asked about the reaction at a campaign field office, a Trump field staffer told CNN there were “gasps. Collective gasps. We’re trying to get our heads around it right now, but there’s no way to spin this. There just isn’t.”
The staffer, who is also paying close attention to Senate efforts, also added, unsolicited: “Just think of the down-ballot effect. Brutal.”
A GOP operative in Ohio voiced similar sentiments.
“This is bad. I think this thing is over,” the staffer said.
Reached for comment, a top battleground state staffer told CNN he was “picking (his) chin off the floor.”
“We want every suburban woman’s vote in America. This doesn’t help with that,” the staffer said.
And a Trump campaign source said they were “dumbfounded,” saying the remarks “could be a death knell.”
The source had no predictions on how the article will impact the race, saying the next two days will be critical.
“I think the next 48 hours will be the most consequential of the entire election. Right here, right now, this is game time,” the source said.
One senior Trump adviser said simply, “Ugh.”
A stunning apology
The seriousness of Trump’s remarks could be gauged by his apology, the first time he has offered such a concession as a presidential candidate. He has offered “regret” on several occasions, notably in August when he acknowledged he sometimes says “the wrong thing” and in April when he said retweeting an unflattering picture of Ted Cruz’s wife, Heidi Cruz, was “a mistake.”
Previously, Trump has said that he would only apologize for something if he was “wrong.”
“I fully think apologizing is a great thing. But you have to be wrong,” Trump said in a September 2015 appearance on “The Tonight Show.”
And in a March CNN town hall, Trump could not recount the last time he had apologized for something but said that “if you’re not wrong, I don’t believe in apologizing.”
Pressed again on specific times when he’s apologized for anything in his life.
“Yes, I mean — apologized — I apologized to my mother years ago for using foul language,” Trump said. “I apologize to my wife for not being presidential on occasion.”
Trump and women
Trump has repeatedly bragged that “nobody respects women more” than him and has vowed to “cherish” and “protect” women as president.
But the newly unearthed recording is just the latest revelation that shows the crude and at-times sexist terms Trump has used to describe women.
During his run for president, Trump suggested that his GOP primary opponent Carly Fiorina, a former Fortune 500 CEO, was too ugly to be elected president, shouting “look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?” during an interview with Rolling Stone magazine. And Trump also suggested that Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly asked him tough questions during the first GOP debate because she was on her period, saying there was “blood coming out of her wherever.”
Trump most recently stoked controversy after he defended his belief that former Miss Universe Alicia Machado had “gained a massive amount of weight and it was a real problem.” He was also accused of calling her “Miss Piggy” back in the 1990s.
In his numerous appearances on “The Howard Stern Show,” Trump also frequently engaged the show’s host in lewd and objectifying conversations about women, including discussing his sexual encounters.
Trump on the show frequently ranked women on a scale of 1 to 10 and discussed everything from oral sex to anal sex to whether he could get an erection for certain famous women.
“A person who is flat-chested is very hard to be a 10,” Trump said in one segment with Stern.
Discussing a famous actress’s recent breast augmentation, Trump said: “The boob job is terrible, you know they look like two light posts coming out of a body.”
Trump most recently defended some of the crude comments he has made about women by telling local Las Vegas news station KSNV that “a lot of that was done for the purposes of entertainment.”
“There’s nobody that has more respect for women than I do,” Trump said.