Update, 11:30pm: Donald Trump has issued an apology for his comments, pledging to be a “better man” going forward.
“I’ve said and done things I regret,” he said in a video released on his Facebook page near midnight Saturday morning “Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize.”
Trump immediately jumped on the attack, however, claiming that the audio tape, which caught him describing a sexual assault, was a distraction, and that Bill Clinton is the one to look out for. ‘Bill Clinton has actually abused women and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims.”
Update, 9:30pm: Rep. Paul Ryan has disinvited Donald Trump from a planned event in Wisconsin tomorrow.
— Celeste Katz (@CelesteKatzNYC) October 8, 2016
The Washington Post has unearthed a recording from a 2005 conversation between Donald Trump and Billy Bush, then a host of Access Hollywood, in which the current Republican Presidential nominee talks about using his celebrity to seduce women.
Trump, who has routinely been criticized for his treatment of women, is heard on the tape discussing a failed attempt to sleep with a married woman (“I did try and fuck her. She was married”).
Access Hollywood reported Friday evening that the woman Trump was talking about trying to seduce was Access co-host Nancy O’Dell, who is now the co-host of Entertainment Tonight.
In the tape, Trump goes on to lewdly describe how he treats other women who are impressed with his star power. He tells Bush, in the tape, that he can get any woman he wants and that he routinely kisses women without consent.
“When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything,” Trump says. “Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”
CNN reports that the New York Times will soon release a story that Trump planted an unsolicited kiss on a Miss USA contestant.
CNN: NYT to report shortly that Miss Utah, 1997, says Trump kissed her on the lips, unsolicited. She was stunned.
— John Aravosis (@aravosis) October 7, 2016
Billy Bush, who just recently was appointed a host of the Today show’s 9 o’clock hour, apologized Friday evening for his part in the taped conversation. In the recording, Bush (a cousin of George W. Bush) could be heard cheering on Trump in a juvenile fashion.
Bully Bush statement pic.twitter.com/jMSiVlQ65Q
— John Koblin (@koblin) October 7, 2016
Trump also apologized for the statements in a comment released Friday, noting that Bill Clinton, his opponent’s husband, has “said far worse to me on the golf course,” by way of excuse.
Hillary Clinton was quick to jump on Trump’s comments, calling him unfit to be President.
Clinton responds to Trump lewd video, tweets "This is horrific" adds "We cannot allow this man to become president" https://t.co/6qdpHULoEJ
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) October 7, 2016
Republicans were mixed in their immediate response to the tape. RNC chairman Reince Priebus issued a statement denouncing Trump’s 2005 comments — though not renouncing his or the RNC’s support for the GOP candidate.
Just In. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus on Trump: "No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever.”
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) October 7, 2016
Prominent conservatives acknowledged the comments were problematic — to say the least.
Hitting on married women? Condoning assault? Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America's face to the world.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) October 8, 2016
DJT is a malignant clown – unprepared and unfit to be president of the United States.
— Mark Kirk (@SenatorKirk) October 7, 2016
— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) October 7, 2016
Trump surrogates asked to defend Trump saying "grab them by their …" be like pic.twitter.com/IScy5wKnBF
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) October 7, 2016
What Trump is talking about in the tape is sexual assault, by definition. Don't debase yourself by defending it. Just don't.
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) October 7, 2016
— Brian Griffiths (@BrianGriffiths) October 7, 2016
Make no mistake the comments were wrong and offensive. They are indefensible.
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) October 7, 2016
Jeb Bush: "As grandfather of two precious girls, I find no apology can excuse away Donald Trump's reprehensible comments degrading women"
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) October 7, 2016
Trump allies quickly tried to downplay Trump’s remarks.
Michelle Bachmann on @MSNBC says Clinton is behind the new Trump audio, says it "clearly came from the opposition research".
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 7, 2016
— POLITICO (@politico) October 7, 2016
I guarantee you, Bill Clinton, Saint and Demigod of the Left, has said and done far worse IN the White House.
— Bill Mitchell (@mitchellvii) October 7, 2016
A few social media users pointed out that Rep. Paul Ryan will campaign for Trump tomorrow in Wisconsin — at an event titled “Shared Values.”
— Chris Cillizza (@TheFix) October 7, 2016
Paul Ryan tmrw: Yesterday I signed a bill to protect the rights of sexual assault survivors. Today, I'm here to intro my friend Donald Trump
— Tony Haile (@arctictony) October 7, 2016
— Bianca Jagger (@BiancaJagger) October 7, 2016
The story will no doubt develop ahead of Sunday night’s debate.