Oh, Donald Trump. You’re just an endless source of material.
On Friday, the Washington Post’s dogged David Fahrenthold got wind of a 2005 tape of Trump exchanging some crude banter with “Access Hollywood” co-host Billy Bush. Trump talked about how he came on to a married woman named Nancy, hoped to freshen his breath with Tic Tacs in case he wanted to move in for a kiss with actress Arianne Zucker, and how his wealth and celebrity allowed him to “do anything” with women — including “grab ’em by the pussy.”
Well, you’re just a ball of testosterone, Mr. Trump. (I’m not going to ask what you do with your tiny hands.)
The ensuing controversy pushed Hurricane Matthew, at the time drowning northeastern Florida, off the front page, and started some “what about?” back-and-forth — not least from Mr. Trump himself, who said that he’d heard much worse from our one-time President Horndog, Bill Clinton, on the golf course. Apparently he plans on bringing up the issue at Sunday night’s presidential debate.
Talk about pissing contests.
I’m certainly not going to defend what Trump said about women. Nor am I going to defend Bill Clinton’s behavior in the ’90s, which somehow led to the whole ugly impeachment mess that featured fellow well-behaved solons Newt Gingrich, Bob Livingston and Henry Hyde, all of whom had the morals of choirboys, of course. And what about John Edwards, Eliot Spitzer or (ugh) Anthony Weiner?
It was Jack Shafer, the contrarian media columnist for Politico, who posted several tweets noting that Trump’s language (or behavior) is nothing new for the Beltway crowd — or most men.
Along with that, there’s always something a little pearl-clutching — or maybe lascivious — in the way the news media covers political sex scandals, no matter how warranted the coverage is. (It’s not like newsrooms are full of angels, either.) And politicians’ backroom shenanigans never seem important until they are.
So why is Trump different?
For me, the thing about Trump’s remarks is they’re just the latest reiteration of the pattern. Time and again he’s shown that he revels in insulting and degrading others, whether it’s Mexicans, African-Americans, people with disabilities, members of the military … well, here’s a list.
Late last night, Trump put out a statement.
“Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am,” he said.
Actually, Donald, they’re exactly who you are.