The Current

Sexual assault allegations against Trump reveal gender divide in U.S.

As allegations of sexual assault against Donald Trump continue to drive the media cycle, The Current convenes women political observers to share their thoughts on the campaign race and what it says about the state of democracy in the U.S.
Mica Mosbacher, former Republican official and a Trump supporter, on the allegations of sexual assault against Donald Trump 1:00
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"It was locker room talk," says U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, referring to a 2005 recording showing him bragging about groping and kissing women without their consent.

"When you're a star", Trump says in the video, "they let you do it."

Since the tape was released last week, women have been coming forward with their own stories alleging that they were sexually assaulted by Donald Trump.

"I think that when you come forward during a political election it is sensationalizing the issue and it does lower your credibility,"  Fox commentator Mica Mosbacher tells The Current's guest host Piya Chattopadhyay.

"I'm not saying that these allegations are true, or not true, but I'm saying this country has bigger issues."

According to CNN political commentator Sally Kohn, Trump's view of women is an issue and it's because of his alleged behaviour that this is even a topic of discussion.

"Sexual assault and how we treat and respect women in our country, and in our world is still an issue," says Kohn. "If we didn't believe it before, we can sure believe it now."

Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump denies groping and kissing women without consent when confronted with his own words from a 2005 video at the second election debate, Oct. 9, 2016. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)
 After a new poll suggested that Trump could win if only men's votes were counted, a hashtag took off online saying repeal the 19th — the amendment that gives women the vote.

The gender divide in this U.S. election does not sit well with marketing firm president Tara Dowdell.

"As an American, I'm embarrassed that the campaign has devolved into this." says Dowdell, who was also a contestant on The Apprentice.

She tells Chattopadhyay that contestants on the reality show did confess to being subjected to humiliating behaviour by Trump but she never experienced or witnessed this herself.

Trump supporter attends the first Congressional District Republican Party of Wisconsin, Oct. 8, 2016. Trump was scheduled to attend with House Speaker Paul Ryan, who said he was 'sickened' by lewd, misogynistic comments Trump made as he described groping women in a 2005 video. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
Mosbacher tells Chattopadhyay that Trump is not the man critics are painting him to be.

"I work with him in the campaign and I can tell you that he has treated me and other women only with the utmost respect," Mosbacher tells Chattopadhyay.

While it's hard to see a silver lining, Kohn says hopefully there's a realization on how far we've come in talking about misogyny and respect for women and understanding the line between locker room talk and sexual assault.

"That would be I suppose a positive to come out of this but it is a sad reminder of the reality of the everyday misogyny and rape culture in our society that we still face," says Kohn.

Dowdell says her concern over the state of gender relations in this election campaign involves policy implications that affect half of the population — women.

"[Trump] has the ability to veto legislation. He has the ability to get to work with Congress to move an agenda or any policy agenda forward. And there are issues that are specific to women," says Dowdell.

"We have a lot of work to do."

Listen to the full conversation at the top of this web post.

This segment was produced by The Current's Willow Smith, Lara O'Brien and Howard Goldenthal.