The Trump on Tape is the Trump We Already Knew

On the Trump tape (trigger warnings, obviously, about sexual assault, race, and America):

  1. The worst part of the recording is not the “lewd” language. The worst part, I think, is that Trump is describing how he assaults women — forcing himself on strangers, on colleagues: to him, attacking a woman is so normal, such a standard part of his day that he presents it as a nearly involuntary act. He describes his sexual assaults almost as something that happens TO him, because women are beautiful and he has no choice. And he clearly tells himself that his victims “let” him prey on them.
  2. The married woman Trump is describing in the audio is Nancy O’Dell. After she rebuffed him, he tried to have her fired. Notice that in none of Trump’s statements / apologies does he say sorry to O’Dell, or express any compassion for what she’s going through today.

  3. It would be a mistake, almost certainly, to think this is just Trump talking, just bantering with the lads. Multiple women, over many years, have said that Trump has assaulted them just as he describes doing in the tape. Jill Harth testified under oath that Trump kept groping her during a business venture, and tried to rape her even though her boyfriend was in the next room. Trump’s ex-wife also testified that Trump raped her during their marriage.

  4. None of the stuff on the tape is far off things that Trump has previously said in public or tweeted. He has boasted about dating underage girls and pursuing married women. He has said sexually offensive / humiliating things to women in public many times. And of course he has repeatedly talked about wanting to have sex with his daughter, even sliding his hand down her waist, enough to make her flinch away, during the GOP convention, on live TV.

  5. The GOP’s freak out about the tape is very revealing. They were fine with Trump when he promised to persecute Muslims and Mexicans. They were fine when he talked about forcing the military to torture, and using nuclear weapons on his enemies. They really don’t care that he insists that the exonerated Central Park Five should be executed. And they didn’t care when he threatened to limit the freedom of the press. It’s simply that he is now seen as a predator of a group who might vote Republican — professional white women. They were happy he was a predator, as long as it was directed elsewhere, at those not quite real people who don’t fully count: liberals, immigrants and their children, African Americans, people with disabilities.

  6. The mainstream of the GOP, the “good” Republicans like Paul Ryan, knew all this months ago. Trump’s behaviour was not a secret. But Ryan’s plan for drastically cutting taxes on the wealthy is so important — Ryan is promising to immediately enact his budget if Trump wins — that he clearly thought it was worth supporting Trump.

  7. Given that Trump’s talk about rape matches his actions, shouldn’t we now start taking the rest of his talk more seriously? When he promised to torture suspects, to steal oil, to use nuclear weapons, to shut down newspapers, to have voting stations “watched,” is it surely reasonable to now assume that he really means this stuff, and he is not just bantering with the lads? Given that he shows so little capacity for empathy, for treating other people as valid human beings, why would anyone think that he was just performing?

  8. If you are genuinely convinced by Trump saying that Bill Clinton did it too and so the tape doesn’t matter, I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe Bill did. It’s important to believe accusations of rape: as many studied have revealed, such accusations are rarely made up, and rarely believed, and rarely ever brought to trial. But in this particular context, Trump’s claim just makes even more obvious his lack of remorse, lack of self-examination. He can barely stand having to say sorry for anything: someone else always needs to be blamed, suffer, be lower than him. He has to deflect, pass on blame — it is an automatic response for him. And this aspect of his personality has been obvious for months, if you follow politics everyday, and yet the Republican elite still thought it was worth helping him become President so they could get their tax cuts.

  9. Hillary Clinton is also not her husband.

What do you think?

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