Over the last year-plus of his presidential campaign, Donald Trump’s name has become synonymous with controversy.
On Friday, the political world was once again shocked as The Washington Post published recordings of Trump making lewd and explicit comments regarding his sexual advances toward women.
The recordings, taken while Trump was miked before a television appearance in 2005, feature the Republican nominee graphically describing his inappropriate behavior to Billy Bush, then of “Access Hollywood.”
Trump, a husband and a father, bragged unapologetically about kissing and groping women and making sexual relations with them.
“I just start kissing them,” Trump said. “It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”
He went on to graphically explain what allows him to get away with such behavior.
“When you’re a star they let you do it,” Trump said. “You can do anything… Grab ‘em by the p*ssy.”
With less than a month until Election Day, such appalling statements are enough to seriously jeopardize Trump’s shot at the White House. In a statement made Saturday, the nominee addressed the most recent scandal threatening to topple his campaign.
“Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am,” Trump said.
He went on to ask Americans to look at the bigger picture.
“Let’s be honest,” Trump said. “We’re living in the real world. This is nothing more than a distraction from the important issues we are facing today.”
His remarks have thrown the GOP into complete chaos as many lifelong Republicans reconsider his candidacy. Even those closest to Trump find it difficult to discount the incident as a mere “distraction.”
His wife Melania characterized his words as “unacceptable and offensive,” and his running mate Mike Pence claimed he could neither condone his statements nor defend Trump on the issue.
By midday Saturday, nearly 20 prominent Republican senators had withdrawn their support for Trump, and, to make matters worse, many are also calling for him to drop out of the race. The Republican National Committee itself has temporarily suspended work on its Donald Trump Victory project.
A popular sentiment among angry conservatives is that Pence should replace Trump at the top of the ticket. However, such drastic action would be nearly impossible given the close proximity of the election.
Early voting has already begun, and deadlines to change names on state ballots have long since passed. Unless he steps down of his own accord, Trump will be the Republican nominee come Nov. 8.
Trump has lived down many scandals over the course of the long campaign season. From verbally attacking a gold star family to failing to release his tax returns to being accused of generalizing minority groups, the real estate mogul has weathered countless blistering news cycles.
An unfiltered “tell it as it is” mentality is part of what has endeared Trump to his supporters. His brash way of addressing politics and people alike have set him apart from candidates of the past, and political correctness has never been his calling card.
No one is questioning whether Trump took things too far with his sexual statements regarding women. The real question is whether he can recover from the controversy in time for the election.