The revelations about Donald Trump’s disgusting misogynistic comments about women on an “Access Hollywood” bus in 2005 came as a complete shock to everyone. Everyone, that is, who hasn’t been watching this odious and stunted example of manhood in action for the past 12 months. Actually, you can go much farther back than that. Trump has been talking this way IN PUBLIC for 17 years in appearances on Howard Stern’s radio show. A CNN piece published yesterday has over a dozen sound clips from Trump on Stern’s show and the things he said there are every bit as offensive and degrading to women (and, I’d argue, men) as the tape from the bus.
But, never late than never, I suppose, and I’m glad that those who didn’t find Trump’s hideous comments about the disabled, about Mexicans, about Muslims, about black people, about veterans and war heroes, and about women’s looks in general a bridge too far for them finally found something that was: sexual assault.
And let us all be very clear: what Trump discussed with George W. Bush’s cousin Billy on that bus was not just part of an “extremely lewd conversation” as the Washington Post headline writer put it. It was straight up sexual assault. At one point, Trump spells it out: “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”
“I don’t even wait.”
What he means is that he doesn’t wait for consent. The same goes for grabbing women’s vaginas. According to Trump, they “let him do it” because he’s “a star” and he “can do anything”.
Trump’s immediate response, of course, was to brush it off as “locker-room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago” and then bizarrely pivoted to saying Bill Clinton has said worse things.
Locker-room banter is something I have personal experience with. Like most American boys, I started spending time in locker rooms around 7th grade and continued to spend time in locker rooms through high school when I was on the varsity swim team until now when I sometimes (okay, rarely) go to the gym. I can assure you that this is not something “normal”. In fact, the only time I ever heard conversations that approach the level of inappropriateness was in junior high and high school and then it was from a small group of bullying jocks who puffed themselves up by saying degrading things about our female classmates. They talked a big game but they rarely if ever actually did any of the things they bragged about.
Unlike Donald Trump.
But these boys were bullies, pure an simple. Bullies toward girls and especially bullies toward other boys. I was, to be honest, terrorized by these sorts of narcissists throughout junior high and into high school. They were generally the biggest, most physically imposing guys in the place and they kept their spot at the top of the social hierarchy by making sure dweebs like me never challenged them. And, if you wanted to be part of their circle of friends atop the social ladder, you went along with it. The rest of us kept our mouths shut even though we knew what they were doing and saying was wrong.
This is precisely the sort of person that Trump is. Billy Bush is/was one of his enabling sycophants and Trump is the bullying jock.
But it’s not normal.
It’s not something ALL men or boys or even MANY men or boys do.
And grabbing a woman’s genitals or kissing her without consent is not only not appropriate, it is a criminal act of sexual assault. Talking about it isn’t “lewd conversation”, it’s confessing to a crime.
And the person confessing to these specific crimes isn’t a grade school jock. He’s the Republican candidate for President of the United States of America.
[CC image credit: flattop341 | Flickr]