Trump brags about groping women in tape from 2005, offers lukewarm apology

Donald Trump is issuing a rare apology of sorts after a video showed him making lewd, sexually charged comments about women in 2005. He called it “locker room banter.”

The Republican nominee said “I apologize if anyone was offended.” He issued the statement after The Washington Post revealed video of Trump caught on a microphone while talking with Billy Bush of Access Hollywood.

Trump is heard saying he “did try and f—k her. She was married.” He’s referring to an unknown woman. He also used graphic terms to describe the woman’s body and said he frequently tried to kiss beautiful women.

“I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them,” he says in the video. “It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything.”

Right after that, he said, “grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

WARNING: This video contains graphic language

He also appears to refer to the woman as ‘it’ in the video.

The newspaper said the recording was made just months after Trump married his third wife, Melania.  

Trump shrugs off audio

Trump, who has brought up former President Bill Clinton’s infidelities as a criticism of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, calling her a “total enabler,” shrugged off the audio. 

“This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago,” Trump said in a statement. “Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course — not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended,” Trump said. 

A spokeswoman for Access Hollywood declined immediate comment.

In his own statement, Bush said he was “embarrassed and ashamed.”

“It’s no excuse, but this happened 11 years ago,” said Bush, who this summer was named a host of the third hour of NBC’s Today show. “I was younger, less mature and acted foolishly in playing along. I’m very sorry.”

‘No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever.’ – Reince Priebus, Republican Party Chairman

By early Friday evening, the condemnation began to arrive from points across the Republican Party.

“No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner,” said party chairman Reince Priebus. “Ever.”

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who is locked in a tough re-election fight and this week reversed herself to say Trump was not a good role model for children, said his comments “are totally inappropriate and offensive.”

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whom Trump beat in the party’s primaries, wrote on Twitter: “As the grandfather of two precious girls, I find that no apology can excuse away Donald Trump’s reprehensible comments degrading women.”

The comments, which appeared to condone sexual assault, were swiftly condemned by Clinton’s campaign.

Clinton has said that Trump has shown a lack of respect for women, noting during the first presidential debate that he insulted a former Miss Universe. She has said it’s a reason why he’s unfit to be president.

Long history of demeaning comments

Earlier this week, Trump dismissed questions about his history of vulgarity, telling a television station in Nevada that “a lot of that was done for the purpose of entertainment.” He added: “And I can tell you this, there’s nobody — nobody — that has more respect for women than I do.”

Trump has a long history of making lewd and highly sexual comments toward and about women. The Associated Press reported this week that during his years as a reality TV star on the The Apprentice, the Republican nominee repeatedly demeaned women with sexist language, rating female contestants by the size of their breasts and talking about which ones he’d like to have sex with.

During frequent interviews with shock jock Howard Stern in the 1990s, Trump made a long list of demeaning comments, saying that he could have had sex with Diana, princess of Wales, who had recently been killed in a car crash, and declaring that “A person who is very flat-chested is very hard to be a 10.”

He has repeatedly called the comedian Rosie O’Donnell a “pig” and “slob” and suggested she’d be less depressed if she stopped looking in the mirror. The Los Angeles Times reported last month that managers at Trump’s golf club in southern California knew the New York developer only wanted good-looking women on staff.

Debate Sunday

The revelations come two days before Trump and Clinton meet in Sunday’s second presidential debate, with the Republican urgently in need of a strong performance.

The Republican nominee delivered an uneven performance in the first presidential debate — punctuated by his frequent interruptions of his female opponent — and then spent days after the debate renewing his past attacks on Alicia Machado, the 1995 winner of the Miss Universe pageant that Trump used to own, over her weight.

Public opinion polls have showed Clinton pulling ahead in nearly all battleground states, some of which are already in the midst of early voting.

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