We Should Have Known Consent Wasn't A Priority For Donald Trump
On Friday afternoon, the Washington Post published an interview between Donald Trump and then- Access Hollywood host Billy Bush, in which the Republican presidential candidate discussed his personal approach to women and sex, revealing a sense of entitlement and aggression that raises new flags. Although Trump's record of sexist and demeaning comments toward women — whether about their weight, their face, or their menstrual cycles — is well-documented, the latest recording isn't part of even this sadly familiar body of evidence. In the recording with Bush, which was caught on a hot microphone, according to the Washington Post report, the Republican presidential candidate described how "when you're a star... you can do anything" in regards to women and, specifically, in regards to sex with them.
The recording was done on the set of Days Of Our Lives, where Trump was filming a cameo. Cast member Arianne Zucker, who was scheduled to take the two men around the set for a television segment, comes to their attention. According to the Washington Post report, this prompts Trump to say:
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.
Trump continues to Bush, "When you’re a star they let you do it." He adds, "You can do anything.” Trump's definition of "anything" becomes more explicit, as he boasts to Bush:
Grab them by the p---y. You can do anything.
Those words may be the most ominous of the recording, but the whole exchange suggests a certain lack of respect or acknowledgement of sexual consent. That is why this latest report is not just another piece of evidence in the "Donald Trump says bad/gross/crass/insulting things about women" pile on. The exchanges with Bush show a remarkable lack of regard for whether these women Trump can't help but kiss or "gab by the p---y" want or agree for him to do such things. As Ana Marie Cox simply put it, "[Trump]'s describing sexual assault."
This latest discovery about Trump's regard for women is absolutely more disturbing than his litany of other comments, be it calling former Miss Universe Alicia Machado "Missy Piggy" and "Miss Housekeeper" to saying a lawyer who wanted to breastfeed was "disgusting." Instead of being crude or demeaning, the attitude Trump expresses in this exchange reveals a wild disregard for consent.
Personally, I am not sure it will deter any people who were planning to vote for Trump to do so. Many will brush it off, as Trump has, as "locker room banter." And granted, even just a decade ago, the way sexual consent was discussed is very different from the way we do today. But these latest uncovered remarks go beyond the "blood coming out of her whatever" line toward Megyn Kelly or "that face" jab toward Carly Fiorina. There's a frightening aggressiveness in the way Trump discusses his sexual conquests — even conquests may be putting it nicely — that should give voters serious pause.