By Alison Barnett
Over the last few weeks, allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump have come out of the woodwork, after a recording from 2005 was released showing Donald Trump making lewd comments about his treatment of women.
The clip was from a discussion Trump had with Access Hollywood host Billy Bush before filming a segment for the show, where Trump said that “ And when you’re a star, they let you do it, you can do anything… Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” He also mentioned trying to seduce a married woman, and wanting to kiss Arianne Zucker, a soap opera actress who was also on the show that day, though he was already married to his current wife Melania.
While NBC, the network that airs Access Hollywood, had the tape first, it was leaked to the Washington Post, who released the story on October 1. Trump’s campaign first released a statement on his website, apologizing for the comments and claiming it was just “locker room banter” and that “Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course.” Trump later released a video apology, saying that “I’ve said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more-than-a-decade-old video are one of them”, but again placing blame on Bill Clinton for engaging in similar behavior.
After the release of the tape, condemnations from both Trump’s opponents and his fellow Republicans began to grow. Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine quickly spoke out against Trump, with Kaine saying that the tape “makes me sick to my stomach.” Republicans, many of whom had supported Trump, also spoke out. Mitt Romney, the previous Republican nominee, tweeted that Trump’s comments “demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America’s face to the world.” Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House, uninvited Trump from a campaign event and decided to stop supporting Trump’s campaign in favor of trying to keep the Republican Party’s hold on Congress.
Since the release of the tape, multiple women have come forward with allegations of harassment and assault against Trump, including former contestants in the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants, which Trump owns. They claim that he would come into the dressing rooms while the contestants were changing.
A woman named Jessica Leeds claimed that Trump sexually assaulted her on an airplane in the 1980s, and a woman named Rachel Crooks said that he kissed her in an elevatorwhen she worked at Trump Tower in 2005. Both women spoke to the New York Times about their experiences.
There are many more allegations against Trump, and they seem to be affecting his polling numbers, which had already been going down since the first debate. According to FiveThirtyEight, a polling organization, Trump has a 11.4% chance of winning the election as of October 17th, as opposed to 45.2% on the day of the first debate.