Unaware his microphone was on, Donald Trump started talking about how he pursues women.
“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them,” Trump said in the 2005 recording, obtained by The Washington Post. “It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”
Trump boasted that his celebrity broke down social barriers.
“When you’re a star, they let you do it,” he told to then-“Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush. “You can do anything.”
“Grab them by the p—-,” Trump said. “You can do anything.”
After the video resurfaced Friday, Trump released a statement: “This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago,” the Republican presidential nominee said.
“Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course — not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.”
Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager, also defended his former boss.
“He speaks from the heart,” Lewandowski said Friday evening on CNN. “He speaks the way many people speak around the dining room table.”
Jackson Katz, co-founder of the Mentors in Violence Prevention, an anti-rape program taught at universities nationwide, said Trump’s comments attempt to normalize criminal behavior.
“‘Locker-room banter’ is not a way to excuse it,” he said.
Katz has worked with college students for more than 20 years, teaching young athletes to obtain clear consent before a sexual encounter. No matter who you are, Katz said, groping a woman without her permission qualifies as sexual assault.
A response that amounts to “boys will be boys” is “such an embarrassingly dated thing to say,” Katz said. “Boys will either rise to our expectations or sink to them, in the locker room or otherwise. And we need to raise our expectations for what it means to be a boy or a man.”
Back in 2005, when Trump made the comments, the nation had not yet buzzed about what consent means. Student activists at Ohio’s Antioch College had pushed the country’s first “Yes means yes” policy in 1993, urging men on campus to ask for permission before every step of a hookup, but the movement didn’t broadly catch on until after the FBI changed its definition of sexual assault in 2012.