Trump camp reel­ing af­ter com­ments on women aired

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS - By Julie Pace and Jonathan Lemire

NEW YORK >> Caught on tape mak­ing shock­ingly crude com­ments about a mar­ried woman he tried to se­duce, Don­ald Trump reeled un­der wide­spread con­dem­na­tion from his own party on Fri­day, in­creas­ingly des­per­ate to sal­vage a pres­i­den­tial bid at risk of im­plod­ing.

Trump tried to head off some of the da­m­age by is­su­ing a state­ment apol­o­giz­ing “if any­one was of­fended” by vul­gar re­marks captured on a 2005 tape and made public Fri­day. In the record­ing, ob­tained by The Wash­ing­ton Post and NBC News, Trump de­scribes try­ing to have sex with the mar­ried woman and brags about women let­ting him kiss and grab them be­cause he is fa­mous.

“When you’re a star they let you do it,” Trump says. “You can do any­thing.”

He adds sec­onds later, “Grab them by the p----. You can do any­thing.”

The one-sen­tence re­sponse from the head of Trump’s Repub­li­can Party was dev­as­tat­ing.

“No woman should ever be de­scribed in these terms or talked about in this man­ner. Ever,” said Reince Priebus, who had stood by Trump through his past provoca­tive com­ments.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said he was sick­ened by Trump’s com­ments.

“I hope Mr. Trump treats this sit­u­a­tion with the se­ri­ous­ness it de­serves and works to demon­strate to the coun­try that he has greater re­spect for women than this clip sug­gests.”

Ryan added tartly that Trump was “no longer at­tend­ing” a joint cam­paign ap­pear­ance set for Satur­day in Wis­con­sin. Trump him­self later said in a state­ment that he would be pre­par­ing for Sun­day night’s de­bate in­stead.

Other Repub­li­cans, painfully aware of Trump’s pos­si­ble im­pact on their own po­lit­i­cal fates, were quick to chime in. New Hamp­shire Sen. Kelly Ay­otte, who is locked in a close race, called his com­ments “to­tally in­ap­pro­pri­ate and of­fen­sive.”

Trump’s run­ning mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, was “be­side him­self” and his wife was fu­ri­ous, ac­cord­ing to a per­son fa­mil­iar with their think­ing. That per­son spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity, be­cause they were not au­tho­rized to share the pri­vate dis­cus­sion.

For all the con­dem­na­tion, there was no GOP clamor for Trump to bow out. But Ryan’s spokesman and oth­ers who crit­i­cized the can­di­date’s com­ments sidestepped the ques­tion.

On the tape, Trump is caught on a live mi­cro­phone while talk­ing with Billy Bush of “Ac­cess Hol­ly­wood.” The can­di­date is heard say­ing “I did try and f--- her. She was mar­ried.” He also uses graphic terms to de­scribe the woman’s body and says he fre­quently tries to kiss beau­ti­ful women.

“Ac­cess Hol­ly­wood” said a re­cent As­so­ci­ated Press story about Trump’s lewd be­hind-the-scenes com­ments as star of “The Ap­pren­tice” led it to dig through its archives and turn up the pre­vi­ously un­aired tape. It was recorded dur­ing a bus ride while Trump was on his way to ap­pear in an episode of the soap opera “Days of Our Lives.”

Trump’s Demo­cratic ri­val, Hil­lary Clin­ton, seized on Trump’s quotes, calling them “hor­rific.” She said in a Twit­ter mes­sage: “We can­not al­low this man to be­come pres­i­dent.”

But she had her own prob­lems with rev­e­la­tions.

The Wik­iLeaks or­ga­ni­za­tion posted what it said were thou­sands of emails from Clin­ton cam­paign chair­man John Podesta, in­clud­ing some with ex­cerpts from speeches she gave to Wall Street ex­ec­u­tives and oth­ers — speeches she has de­clined to re­lease de­spite de­mands from Trump.

The ex­cerpts in­clude Clin­ton seem­ing to put herself in the free trade camp, a po­si­tion she has re­treated from. In a talk to a Brazil­ian bank in 2013, she said her dream was “a hemi­spheric com­mon mar­ket, with open trade and open bor­ders.”

Trump strongly op­poses cur­rent U.S. trade deals and in­sists Clin­ton is too cozy with Wall Street to re­form it.

Fri­day’s rev­e­la­tions came two days be­fore Trump and Clin­ton are to meet in the sec­ond pres­i­den­tial de­bate, with the Repub­li­can ur­gently in need of a strong per­for­mance. Af­ter his un­even show­ing in the first con­test, public opin­ion polls have showed Clin­ton pulling ahead in nearly all bat­tle­ground states, some of which are al­ready in the midst of early vot­ing.

There were plenty of other prob­lems for Trump on what surely was one of the worst days of his twoyear drive for the White House.

His ad­vis­ers planned for him to spend a quiet Fri­day pre­par­ing for the de­bate and meet­ing with bor­der se­cu­rity of­fi­cials. But the day was quickly con­sumed by a se­ries of con­tro­ver­sies, in­clud­ing Trump’s un­sub­stan­ti­ated claim about im­mi­grants in the U.S. il­le­gally vot­ing in the elec­tion and his ques­tion­ing the in­no­cence of five black teenagers ex­on­er­ated in a 1989 rape case.

Then, there were new signs of un­usual links be­tween Trump and Rus­sia. For the first time, the U.S. pub­licly blamed the Rus­sian govern­ment for hack­ing the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee and ac­cused Moscow of try­ing to in­ter­fere with the Amer­i­can elec­tion. Diplo­mats also told the AP that Rus­sia had lodged a for­mal com­plaint with the United Na­tions over a U.N. of­fi­cial’s con­dem­na­tions of Trump.

Also in the mix Fri­day: New ques­tions about the Trump cam­paign’s fi­nances. With roughly a month un­til Elec­tion Day, the cam­paign has yet to sched­ule the $100 mil­lion in tele­vi­sion ad­ver­tis­ing that his cam­paign boasted about just two weeks ago. The cam­paign has just half that amount sched­uled, and late this week shifted ad money around rather than in­creas­ing its over­all in­vest­ment, sug­gest­ing a bit of penny-pinch­ing even as the clock winds down.

While Trump has sur­vived nu­mer­ous con­tro­ver­sies that would have sunk other can­di­dates, Fri­day’s de­vel­op­ments came at a cru­cial mo­ment. Less than five weeks from Elec­tion Day, he needs to ex­pand his sup­port and is strug­gling in par­tic­u­lar with mi­nori­ties and women.

The un­earthed tape of his com­ments can hardly help with fe­male vot­ers.

In a state­ment af­ter the tape was re­vealed, Trump called his com­ments “locker room ban­ter” and a “pri­vate con­ver­sa­tion that took place many years ago.”

“Bill Clin­ton has said far worse to me on the golf course — not even close,” he said. “I apol­o­gize if any­one was of­fended.”

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