Trump says 'I was wrong' after 2005 video shows him bragging about groping women
WARNING: GRAPHIC LANGUAGE
Caught on tape making shockingly crude comments about a married woman he tried to seduce, Donald Trump reeled under widespread condemnation on Friday. In a late-night video statement, the Republican nominee apologized, again, saying: "I said it, I was wrong and I apologize."
Trump issued an initial apology of sorts about his comments after The Washington Post revealed video of Trump caught on a microphone while talking with Billy Bush of Access Hollywood in 2005.
The Republican nominee said "I apologize if anyone was offended."
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.
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"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 says 'I was wrong'
Later Friday, after taking heat from rivals and Republicans alike, Trump issued a statement to the media.
"I've said and done things I regret, and the words that were released today in this more than decade-old video are one of them," Trump said in a late-night video statement.
Here is my statement. <a href="https://t.co/WAZiGoQqMQ">pic.twitter.com/WAZiGoQqMQ</a>—@realDonaldTrump
"Anyone who knows me, knows these words don't reflect who I am," he said. "I said it, I was wrong and I apologize."
Trump talked about how campaigning had changed him, and being humbled by the "faith they've placed in me."
The 2005 video, he said, was "nothing more than a distraction from the important issues we are facing today," citing lost jobs, security issues and dysfunction in Washington.
The presidential hopeful then turned his attention to Bill Clinton, saying the former president "has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims."
The Republican nominee promised to bring that up more in the days ahead — saying he would be at the debate on Sunday.
Trump shrugs off audio
Trump, who has previously brought up Bill Clinton's infidelities as a criticism of his current Democratic presidential rival, had initially shrugged off the audio.
"This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago," Trump said in an initial 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."
Republicans denounce Trump's comments
By early Friday evening, the condemnation began to arrive from points across the Republican Party.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said women "are to be championed and revered, not objectified. 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."
No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever.- Reince Priebus, Republican Party Chairman
Ryan added tartly that Trump was "no longer attending" a joint campaign appearance that had been planned for Saturday in Wisconsin.
Trump's running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, will attend the event instead.
Trump said in a statement that he would stay in New York "in debate prep" with Republican National Campaign chairman Reince Priebus, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Senator Jeff Sessions before flying to St. Louis on Sunday for the second presidential debate.
Pence ignored questions about the video shouted by reporters in Rossford, Ohio, where he was campaigning with his daughter.
Priebus, who has stood by Trump through his past provocative comments, condemned the latest revelations.
"No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner," said Republican 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.
This is horrific. We cannot allow this man to become president. <a href="https://t.co/RwhW7yeFI2">https://t.co/RwhW7yeFI2</a>—@HillaryClinton
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
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.
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."
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.
with files from Reuters and CBC News