The US presidential elections were wracked by controversy this week when the Washington Post published a 2005 tape of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in which he is making lewd comments about women. In the tape, Trump is heard bragging about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women.
Donald Trump on Saturday apologised for making crude comments about a married woman in the controversial video, in which he is heard saying: “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful – I just start kissing them. 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.”
The video was released by The Washington Post and NBC News on Friday afternoon, leading to an uproar. Trump, in a videotaped message posted on Facebook on Saturday, said that ‘he was wrong’ and apologised ‘for his words’. He described the remarks as “locker room banter” in his initial statement.
However, he also added that the video was just a distraction and that there was a big difference between ‘the words and actions of people’. “Bill Clinton has actually abused women and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims. We will discuss this more in the coming days. See you at the debate on Sunday,” Trump said.
The second US Presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is scheduled to be held on Sunday, October 9.
Immediately after the video surfaced, Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton took to Twitter and condemned it. “This is horrific. We cannot allow this man to become president,” Clinton tweeted.
Apart from the political rivals and women-rights activists, Trump faced criticism from within the republican fold after senior leaders came out and denounced his comments. These included Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus, Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Ted Cruz and House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Donald Trump was to appear with Paul Ryan at an annual festival in Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin but announced that Vice Presidential candidate and his running mate Mike Pence would be attending the event in his place. This would have been Ryan’s first endorsement of and public appearence with Trump. Pence too dropped out from the event later.
The announcement was made only after Ryan had issued a statement saying he was ‘sickened’ by such comments and that Trump will not be coming to Wisconsin.
On Sunday, Trump’s wife Melania said that while she found the comments offensive, they weren’t from the man she knew and urged people to still vote for him for his leadership qualities. The statement said, “The words my husband used are unacceptable and offensive to me. This does not represent the man that I know. He has the heart and mind of a leader. I hope people will accept his apology, as I have, and focus on the important issues facing our nation and the world.”
The business-tycoon turned politician has found himself embroiled in controversies in the past over his comments on immigrants, Muslims and other communities living in US.