“Drumpf – that’s the sound of shit hitting the wall, and sticking.” — a tweet from @slothlax
A couple of weeks ago, Donald Trump was urging us all to check out a former Miss Universe’s non-existent sex tape. How ironic that the recording we finally got was his. Okay, it was just a talking about sex tape. But it was explosive enough to dominate the news all weekend: while awaiting an actress to meet him and Access Hollywood host Billy Bush, Trump described in the crudest terms how his stardom allowed him to commit sexual assault without consequences.
Hilarious tidbit: Billy Bush is related to those Bushes. His embarrassment has granted cousin Jeb a measure of revenge.
At the debate, Trump denied ever assaulting anyone, an obvious lie even if it does make some kind of sense. “I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there.” Of course, committing an assault doesn’t imply that it succeeded. A lot of people are waiting for the other shoe to drop: one (or a dozen?) women coming forward with tales of Trump’s sexual appetite.
…and with a transcript from The Apprentice already published as I write this, there appear to be numerous shoes hovering.
You know these other shoes must drop, especially after Trump’s pre-debate press conference featuring four women accusing Bill Clinton of sexual assault. One wag described the event as a North Korean hostage video, but it nearly evolved into a hands-on Family Feud. Team Trump had planned to place the accusers in the Trump family box just off the debate floor, meaning that they would be in a reception line for Bill Clinton as he entered. But the debate staff averted the face-to-face drama that would have become. The accusers were relegated to second-row seats behind the Trump family, and the move has predictably backfired.
The four women faded into the background as the debate began, even though the first twenty minutes rehashed the weekend’s tabloid theme.
My liberal heart had anticipated the debate as a Shakespearean drama, let’s say Richard III. Instead it played like an uninspired Death of a Salesman. I should not have been surprised; Trump is no king (except, perhaps, of debt) and the biggest zinger of the night was his well-worn (but still fascist) threat to put Hillary in jail. That too has backfired on Trump.
— New York Post (@nypost) October 10, 2016
And all of Trump’s looming behind her seems like planned stage movement, but whose? The optics were terrible for him: as if he were acting out his bully persona.
For me, watching the debate was like waiting for a storm that never arrived. I expected a Trump meltdown. Not everyone agrees: National Review writer David French wrote, “I felt like I was watching the political Titanic hit the iceberg, back up, and hit it again. Just for fun.”
I began imagining debate Q&A as soon as the sex-talk tape came out. Here’s a few quotes of my own—great examples why I should never write speeches for candidates:
- “Bill Clinton is not running for president. Hillary is.”
- “Maybe it’s time for less testosterone in the White House.”
- “We haven’t had time to determine if the emails are authentic.”
Those ideas are lame at best, but Hillary topped me easily by suggesting that in her hacked emails she was merely quoting Honest Abe, about keeping a public and a private position on issues. She was factually correct about Lincoln’s advice, but it did not play well during the debate.
Those hacked emails contain at least one other gem that could hang on Hillary’s neck like an albatross: “My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere.”
Her detractors will drop the final two-thirds of that quote, of course. The Lincoln defense sounded ridiculous, but Clinton did offer a sliver of a better defense in this matter: citing the source of the hacks (Russia) and identifying the obvious motivation (tipping the election to Trump).
Mainly, Hillary can just keep silent and let the flood of indignation and horror over Trump’s sex talk tape obscure everything else.
My wife is offended that “pussy” is now used so casually in public. Thanks so much, Donald. B-b-but what kind of jerk could rejoice that this latest demeaning of women is out there—because it is firmly attached to Trump? Well, me. And I face an even tougher dilemma: is Bill Clinton also a sexual predator, as Trump claims? Has Hillary enabled him? If true, how can I support them?
This issue is likely to consume the rest of this election cycle, so I’ll write more about it soon. Right now I’d like to float above the surface of this tidal wave, before everything that has gone before is washed away.
Trump’s utter disregard for half of the human race is an excellent reason to deny him the presidency. But it is not news. “Not even close!” While I spent the weekend salivating at the possibility that the video’s ugly revelation would be the one that finally kills his campaign, there are plenty of other reasons.
Just a few hours before Trump’s sex talk tape came out on Friday, he again pronounced the Central Park Five guilty. These are New York men of color who were wrongly convicted of an infamous 1989 rape and imprisoned, some for up to 7 years, until the actual rapist confessed and DNA evidence exonerated them.
I repeat: science found them innocent, as did the actual perp’s confession. But Trump convicted them instantly and now cannot admit his error. Instead he repeats it again and again.
Two weeks after the crime, Trump spent $85 Grand on a full page ad in the New York Daily News calling for their execution. In 2014, he called the financial settlement between the Five and New York “the heist of the century.” He sang that same out-of-tune song again last Friday. Trump has held onto his certainty of their guilt as tenaciously as he does to his belief in Obama’s Kenyan birth.
Racism must be at least some of the motivation. Said one of the Five about the 1989 full-page ad: “If we were white, would Donald Trump had written this in the paper?”
All that is bad enough to deny Trump the White House, but there is much more. Take a look at Exhibit A regarding Trump’s so-called business acumen, before it sinks beneath the surface of public memory…
One short week ago, we learned of Trump’s $916 million “loss” in a single year, running three casinos into the ground during the longest sustained period of economic growth in U.S. history. (Growth which occurred, incidentally, entirely during Bill Clinton’s presidency.)
The pay-no-taxes ploy that Trump claims makes him “smart” was not even a personal loss. The $916 million was lost by banks who loaned him money that he couldn’t pay back, lost by private investors whose shares dropped from $35 to 17 cents apiece, and lost by contractors who he refused to pay for their work.
Trump based his 18-year tax deduction on their losses, not his own. While they bled money, Trump paid himself millions in salary.
You can catch Trump debating himself if you can remember what he said the day before…
“Settling doesn’t mean innocence, but it indicates incompetence on several levels,” Trump wrote in his 2014 op-ed about the Central Park Five, complaining that those exonerated men received money instead of additional jail time. That’s an interesting opinion, given his defense of the two 1970s Justice Department lawsuits against him for racial discrimination. During the last debate, he bragged that he had settled those cases with no admission of guilt—as opposed to proving his innocence.
Each of these stories could should be a bellwether of Trump’s unfitness by itself, but the sex-talk tape has obscured all of that. As Saturday Night Live put it: “Trump finally got what he wanted: a working microphone.”
I can’t stay away from the debate: Talking heads debated amongst themselves whether Hillary should have challenged Trump’s repeated falsehoods in real time, instead of referring people to her website. But the commentators agreed that the next two days, as the lies are debunked, would be rough on Trump, not Clinton. Here are the Top Six Lies out of more than 25 identified by the Washington Post:
- Clinton laughed at a rape victim. FALSE.
- Clinton deleted emails in the face of a subpoena. FALSE.
- Clinton’s campaign originated ‘birther’ rumors in 2008. FALSE.
- The United States is the highest taxed nation in the world. FALSE.
- U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens made 600 requests for help from Benghazi. FALSE.
- Obamacare premiums are facing spectacular increases. FALSE.
Apparently not everyone is horrified by the weekend’s tales of sexual assault. Watch Rudy Giuliani’s eyes bug out as he reminds Chris Matthews about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinski: “There was semen… on her dress!”
Elevated discourse. pic.twitter.com/6GSNcWj3gq
— Neil Irwin (@Neil_Irwin) October 10, 2016
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