I was contentedly composing a post about poetry and plums. Suddenly Twitter exploded and there was slime flying everywhere.
A tape from 2005 had just been released by The Washington Post. In it, radio/TV host Billy Bush was buttering up Donald Trump on the way to the set of the soap opera “Days of Our Lives.” There was loathsome sex talk. Rapey sex talk. With Trump doing most of the talking, and Bush obsequiously encouraging him.
Here’s what Trump said in the course of an idle disgusting conversation with Bush. I have edited out Bush and any other lickspittles saying “Yeah” and “Whoa” and “Whatever you want!”
Trump begins by talking about a failed seduction. “I moved on her and I failed. I’ll admit it…. I did try and fuck her. She was married. And I moved on her very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping. She wanted to get some furniture. I said ‘I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture.’ I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look….”
They spot Arianne Zucker at this point, the actress whose unfortunate job is to escort them onto the set. They discuss her legs.
Trump resumes speaking his short-fingered vulgar mind: “I’ve gotta use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her. 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…. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”
“Grab them by the pussy.” That’s assault. As in against the law.
Asked about this today, Trump said, “This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course – not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.”
Trump’s not known for apologizing. But that’s okay, because this shouldn’t count as an apology.
It’s an example of the cowardly Sorry-If. He says he apologizes if anyone was offended. Notice he doesn’t admit that it’s actually offensive. Which it is. And evil. “When you’re a star… you can do anything”? No no no no no. Though it’s probably true that he’s gotten away with a lot of nastiness committed against people who were afraid to call him on it.
Trump tries to change the subject to Bill Clinton. That bullshit won’t work.
If anyone was offended. He knows people were offended.
As for me, I’m not sure offended is the right word. Revolted? Horrified? Nauseated?
Not to mention appalled – he considers himself a “star” who can do anything to women. Anything, no matter how gross, unwelcome, illegal. Never mind that I have a different definition of star.
What does he think a president can do?
SATURDAY UPDATE FROM SNARLY:
You’ve probably seen the videotaped apology by now. If not, watch it here. The text:
“I’ve never said I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone that I’m not. 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. Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong and I apologize.
I have traveled the country talking about change for America, but my travels have also changed me. I’ve spent time with grieving mothers who’ve lost their children, laid-off workers whose jobs have gone to other countries, and people from all walks of life who just want a better future. I have gotten to know the great people of our country and I’ve been humbled by the faith they’ve placed in me. I pledge to be a better man tomorrow, and will never, ever let you down.
Let’s be honest, we’re living in the real world. This is nothing more than a distraction from the important issues we’re facing today.
We are losing our jobs, we are less safe than we were eight years ago and Washington is totally broken. Hillary Clinton and her kind have run our country into the ground. I’ve said some foolish things, but there’s a big difference between the words and actions of other 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.”
This would do awesomely on Bad Apology Bingo!
As many folks on Twitter pointed out, there’s a lie in the first sentence. He did indeed pretend to be someone he wasn’t, several times masquerading as his own (fake) publicist.
“I’ve never said I’m a perfect person” is a way to say both “you knew what you were getting with me” and “c’mon, this isn’t so bad.” The “more-than-a-decade-ago” comment conveys “someone dragged out this ancient artifact to hurt me.” Sticking the words “I apologize” at the end of a compound sentence — to say nothing of at the end of a paragraph — diminishes it. The “anyone who knows me” and “these words do not reflect who I am” are both right out of the Bad Apology Playbook — you said the things, therefore, they do reflect who you are.
When Trump says “my travels have changed me,” I thought he was going to say he’d gained more understanding of the issues women face and become the kind of person who wouldn’t grab women by their pussies. (I expected that last part to remain subtext.) But no, he offers general platitudes about both men and women, and then says he pledges to be a better man. But if the words he spoke don’t reflect who he is, why does he need to be a better man?
“Let’s be honest, we’re living in the real world” then negates any half-assed apology that came before. “Let’s be honest” implies that the need to respond to the tape is bullshit, politics, entrapment…and it’s a strange choice of word, because hasn’t his whole shtick been that he’s ALWAYS honest, when no one else is? The “real world” phrase implies what he said earlier: Everyone talks like this. Only hothouse flowers think everyone DOESN’T talk like this. And of course, “this is nothing more than a distraction” again negates any notion of remorse or soul-searching. Talking about assaulting women isn’t worth paying attention to, so let’s move on.
In the last paragraph, we start with boilerplate campaign rhetoric. Then he states that Bill Clinton (who is not running for president, and whose conduct Hillary is not responsible for, no more than Melania and Marla and Ivana are responsible for Donald’s) actually assaulted women (not proven, no more than the rape charges against Trump have been proven, and again, Bill is not running for president), and Hillary bullied them (again, an unproven allegation). Again he stomps out his own “apology” by saying BUT LOOK WHAT THEY DID; IT’S WAY WORSE. An apology owns the offense and does not blame others and does not say (as Lance Armstrong did in his terrible apologies, or Ray Rice did by blaming his wife for her own assault): BUT LOOK ELSEWHERE. And I’m not the only one who views “we’ll discuss this more in the coming days” as an implied threat.
Not apologized to: Trump’s own wife and children, Arianne Zucker, the married fake-titted woman.