Last Friday, the world discovered that Donald Trump had appeared in softcore Playboy porn. This is much, much worse: On Friday afternoon, NBC News published a transcript of off-camera remarks Trump made to Billy Bush in 2005, shortly after marrying Melania. The statement Trump released shortly thereafter wasn't much less misogynistic: "This was locker room banter," the statement read. "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."
Here are some of the comments, courtesy of The Washington Post.
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.
Look, I know this isn't the point, but I have to ask: Since when is taking a woman furniture shopping considered sexual?
The Trump campaign's statement seemed rushed and poorly thought out, if thought out at all. Let us count the ways: Firstly, and most importantly, whatever Bill Clinton did or did not say to Donald Trump on golf courses doesn't matter. Bill Clinton is not running for president against Donald Trump; Hillary is. The campaign's invocation of Bill is tired, frankly, and two decades old — not to mention, irrelevant.
In addition, writing off misogynistic descriptions of women as "locker room banter" suggests that speaking about people in such a way is OK — as long as it's between men, in a locker room-esque setting. Woman aren't allowed to talk like that, the statement implies, and men wouldn't in polite company — but when a guy you're one-on-one with another guy, shooting the breeze, you can feel free to say whatever sexist thoughts are racing through your head. Because it's all "banter," right?
I'll continue to count the ways. "A private conversation" does not make overt misogyny less appalling. When you run for president, just about every conversation you've ever had — and a lot else that you'd previously thought of as private, relevant only to you — becomes public property. Your personal life and the comments you've made during conversations, "private" or public, become up for discussion when you nominate yourself to be the most powerful individual in the country.
Finally: "If anyone was offended"? A 7-year-old could explain to you why starting an apology with "If you're offended..." isn't really an apology. Instead, it's an accusation: You shouldn't be offended, but I'm sorry that you've allowed yourself to be in this scenario. I don't want your blame and I didn't want to offend you, so I'm not really sorry for anything I've done — just your reaction to it.
I wouldn't have believed there could be a new low in this election cycle. Lo and behold!