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Trump Hit By His Own Lewd Remarks About Women, Caught On Tape

By Emily Stephenson

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Republicans on Friday grappled with a bombshell 2005 audiotape published by The Washington Post in which Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump boasted in vulgar terms about trying to have sex with an unnamed married woman and groping women, saying “when you’re a star, they let you do it.”

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, who slammed Trump’s comments as “horrific,” was also hit by a leak on Friday. Wikileaks published what appeared to be excerpts of her paid speeches to corporations, the transcripts of which the campaign has refused to release. The transcripts included comments by Clinton on trade that could be troubling for her.

The disclosures come just a month before the Nov. 8 presidential election, and two days before the second televised debate between Clinton and Trump. The disclosures threaten Trump’s already shaky standing with women and reinforce doubts among Democrats that Clinton will crack down on Wall Street.

Trump’s leaked comments spurred a flood of indignation and came at what some have seen as a potentially pivotal point. Sunday’s presidential debate, a town hall-style event, is seen as critical as Trump tries to rebound from a dip in some opinion polls after a rocky performance in the first debate.

“No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever,” said Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, the top Republican elected official, said he was “sickened” by the comments and said Trump would not attend a campaign event in Wisconsin with him on Saturday.

“I hope Mr. Trump treats this situation with the seriousness it deserves and works to demonstrate to the country that he has greater respect for women than this clip suggests,” Ryan said in a statement

Trump in a statement shrugged off the leaked tape as “locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago.”

In the recorded conversation, Trump was wearing a microphone and chatting on a bus with Billy Bush, then host of NBC’s “Access Hollywood,” ahead of a segment they were about to tape.

“I did try and fuck her. She was married,” Trump said. “I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there.”

Trump talked about his attraction to beautiful women. “I just start kissing them,” he said.

“And when you’re a star they let you do it,” he said.

“Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

Trump, who has brought up former President Bill Clinton’s infidelities as a criticism of Hillary Clinton, calling her a “total enabler,” responded to the audio.

“Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course – not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended,” Trump said.

“Access Hollywood” confirmed the video in its own report, saying it discovered the comments in its library.

Billy Bush, in a statement to Variety, said he was “embarrassed and ashamed” of his comments.

Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor who lost to Trump in the Republican presidential primaries – and who is a cousin to Billy Bush – tweeted that the comments were “reprehensible.”

Mitt Romney, who was the Republican candidate in the 2012 election – and who has long opposed Trump, said his comments were “vile degradations” that “demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America’s face to the world.”

Meanwhile, Wikileaks published what appeared to be speech excerpts that could give Trump new fodder for attacking Clinton, who in them voices support for open trade and borders and discusses taking different positions in public than in private.

The U.S. government on Friday formally accused Russia of hacking Democratic Party organizations ahead of the presidential election. Wikileaks has declined to name its sources.

A spokesman for the Clinton campaign declined to confirm whether the Wikileaks emails were authentic and noted that other hacked documents have been faked.

“Earlier today the U.S. government removed any reasonable doubt that the Kremlin has weaponized Wikileaks to meddle in our election and benefit Donald Trump’s candidacy,” said Glen Caplin, the spokesman.

The emails were among hundreds of messages Wikileaks published from the hacked account of John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman.

Clinton has struggled with issues of trustworthiness after a lingering controversy over her use of a private email system while serving as secretary of State.

During her primary campaign against populist rival Bernie Sanders, she resisted calls to release transcripts of 92 paid speeches she gave to Goldman Sachs and other corporations for which she was paid more than $20 million.

In a 2013 speech to a trade group, she talked about the necessity of working with lobbyists, according to the hacked email.

“But if everybody’s watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least. So, you need both a public and a private position,” she said, according to the leaked email.

“It is unsavory, and it always has been that way, but we usually end up where we need to be,” she said.

Ninety minutes after his statement condemning Trump’s leaked remarks, the RNC’s Priebus issued another one slamming Clinton’s leaked excerpts.

“The truth that has been exposed here is that the persona Hillary Clinton has adopted for her campaign is a complete and utter fraud,” Priebus said in the statement.

(Additional reporting by Jeff Mason and Emily Flitter in New York, Ayesha Rascoe in Chicago, Eric Beech and Mohammed Zargham in Washington; Writing by Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Leslie Adler)

IMAGE: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump meets with leadership members of the National Border Patrol Council while receiving the group’s endorsement during a meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, U.S., October 7, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Donald Trump Sees Working Class Chumps

Like so many working-class kids, I was raised not to judge others by what they did or didn’t own and never to bring dishonor to the people I come from.

My mother never let go of the chance to remind her children to heed these lessons. Early in my career, when I started giving speeches to community and professional groups, my mother never attempted to tell me what to say. How I behaved, however, was always her business.

“Look your best,” she’d say. “Represent.” She always added, “And remember who sent you.”

She was referring to my roots, not my employer.

A few years ago, an editor who was frustrated with my choice of column topics lost his temper and said, “Connie, you are not working-class. You are an intellectual.”

I am my parents’ daughter, always, and that day was no different. “Well, if that’s true,” I said, “then I’m an intellectual from the working class. We have smart people, too.”

I’ve been thinking of my parents a lot these days, thanks to Donald Trump. He is a bloviating billionaire who built his riches on the backs of mistreated employees and jilted suppliers. Now he is masquerading as a presidential candidate who cares about the people I come from.

After he won the Nevada caucuses in February, Trump exalted his supporters.

“We won with highly educated. We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated. We’re the smartest people. We’re the most loyal people.”

As various news organizations reported, 57 percent of those voters with a high-school education or less had supported him in that contest.

How could white working-class men think he is on their side? Theories abound, but I’ll mention only one to illustrate how readily some pundits cast the people I come from as clueless dolts.

This is from Paul Sracic, a professor at Youngstown State University, where every year, thousands of working-class kids become the first in their family to go to college:

“Trump’s secret weapon with these voters is that they know he is not really a Republican,” Sracic wrote for CNN. “For these voters, the classic Republican is someone like Mitt Romney or Jeb Bush — who they see as country club Republicans, representing the interests of the rich.

“Trump, ironically the billionaire owner of many such country clubs, has somehow managed to sell himself as the anti-Romney, and the slayer of Bush. The hatred that both of these traditional Republicans show for Trump actually helps him convey this message. It is telling that some of these Ohio Democrats who supported Trump said they wanted to ‘switch to the Trump party.'”

“Some”? How many is “some”? Who knows.

Sracic’s research on that began and ended with a link to a Youngstown Vindicator story that included this nugget: “A number of Democrats taking a Republican ballot when voting early at the board ‘say they want to vote for Trump,’ said Joyce Kale-Pesta, Mahoning County Board of Elections director.”

I don’t doubt that Kale-Pesta heard that, but it’s not a provable or quantifiable claim. It was, however, just enough fodder to bolster yet another piece about how clueless working-class voters can be.

And now Trump claims to be one of them, while his behavior represents everything I was raised to reject.

He brags about not paying taxes, for years. He offers mocking parodies of a reporter’s disability and Hillary Clinton’s brief bout with pneumonia. He demonizes and ridicules anyone who isn’t like him, and that’s a long list. Women, immigrants, people of color — they’re all targets.

Donald Trump has no idea what it means to be a working-class American, which he proves whenever his behavior fails to “represent,” as my mother put it — which is virtually every time he opens his mouth.

Instead, he’s the loud, living proof of what my father used to tell us whenever we witnessed the bad behavior of an adult with more money, more things.

“Money can’t buy class.”

Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and professional in residence at Kent State University’s school of journalism. She is the author of two books, including “…and His Lovely Wife,” which chronicled the successful race of her husband, Sherrod Brown, for the U.S. Senate. To find out more about Connie Schultz (con.schultz@yahoo.com) and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

The List Of Big Name #NeverTrump Republicans Keeps Growing

Donald Trump’s candidacy has the Republican Party at a crossroads. Trump won the votes, fair and square, but an ever-larger list of Republican big wigs have shunned his candidacy, revealing it as the racist, sexist, xenophobic ego trip it really is.

This week brought two more high-profile Trump defections: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. They certainly won’t be the last. For now, here’s a list of Republican politicians who have turned their backs on the chosen nominee of their party.

 

For both Bush Presidents, silence speaks louder than words. Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush endorsed Mitt Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008 but they decided to stay on the sidelines this year. Spokesmen for the former presidents said on May 4 that they would not participate or comment on Trump’s presidential efforts.

Former Florida Gov. and Republican candidate for president Jeb Bush went further than his father and brother, saying that he will abstain from voting in the presidential election next November, as well as from attending the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July. In a Facebook post, Bush accused Trump of not being a true conservative and of having no respect for the Constitution.

“In November, I will not vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, but I will support principled conservatives at the state and federal levels, just as I have done my entire life,” his statement read.

Former GOP Nominee and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has been on a crusade to find a Republican alternative to Trump, who he thinks is a racist. Conservative writer David French seemed like Romney’s choice until French pulled out of a possible third-party candidacy. Romney now says he’s considering Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, although he’s still not convinced of Johnson’s support for marijuana, a drug Romney believes “makes people stupid.” Poor Romney is faced with supporting marijuana legalization, a bigot, or an evil Democrat.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich pledged he would support whoever became the Republican nominee, but he just can’t keep that promise. The former GOP presidential candidate called this decision “painful.”

“I’m not going [to the RNC] to disrupt,” Kasich insisted. “I gave it my best, I didn’t win, I have no regrets about the way I conducted myself, and I’m not interested in being a spoiler.” Kasich, the fourth sitting GOP governor to say he won’t vote for Trump, says he has rejected countless offers to run as a third-party candidate, but is not ready to support Trump. “People even get divorces, you know?” Kasich said, “Sometimes things come about that, look, ‘I’m sorry this has happened, but we’ll see where it ends up.’ I’m not making any final decision yet, but at this point I just can’t do it.”

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker was a huge Trump opponent during the Republican primary season and the first sitting Republican governor to announce he wouldn’t vote for the GOP nominee. Unlike many other Republicans who switched positions once Trump effectively won the nomination, Baker stood his ground, saying he will not vote for Trump and will instead focus on down ballot races. “Some of the things he’s said about women and about Muslims and about religious freedom I just can’t support.” Baker has said about Trump.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, like both President Bushes, decided to stay quiet about the presidential race. He has not said whether he will vote for Trump, but has affirmed he will not endorse him. “I’ve stayed out of the whole thing, and I’m going to continue to,” he said. Like Baker, Snyder says he will focus on reelecting Republicans in his state of Michigan.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan told reporters this week that he does not “plan to” vote for Trump in November, becoming the second sitting GOP governor to explicitly state he wouldn’t be voting for Trump.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham told CNN this month that the Republican party has been “conned” and that he will not be voting for either Clinton or Trump in the coming election and will not be attending the Republican convention in July. “This is the most un-American thing from a politician since Joe McCarthy,” Graham said of Trump. “If anybody was looking for an off-ramp, this is probably it. There’ll come a time when the love of country will trump hatred of Hillary.”

Graham has remained consistent about his feelings for Trump. Last year, as he suspended his bid for the GOP candidacy, Graham called Trump “a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot.”

Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse took to Facebook to plead for a third-party candidate in May. “Why shouldn’t America draft an honest leader who will focus on 70-percent solutions for the next four years?” the GOP senator questioned. “You know…an adult?”

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake urged his colleagues to follow his lead and hold their endorsements for Trump after the the presumptive nominee made inflammatory remarks about Judge Gonzalo Curiel. “None of us want to be in this position,” Flake added. “But there are certain things that you can’t do as a candidate. And some of the things he’s done I think are beyond the pale.”

Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk said he will not be voting for Trump or Clinton. “I do not support Hillary Clinton and I told the public that I did not support Donald Trump, either. I think he’s too bigoted and racist for the Land of Lincoln,” said Kirk, before adding that instead, he’s going to write former CIA director David Petraus’ name on the ballot.

Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has also stated she will not vote for Trump. In an official statement, the Cuban-born congresswoman said that although she will work with whomever becomes president,  “In this election, I do not support either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.”

Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, who also served as George W. Bush’s EPA administrator, encouraged New Jersey GOP voters to vote for someone other than Trump in her state’s primary, even if he had already clinched the nomination. Not only has Whitman announced she will not vote for Trump, she compared him to Hitler and Mussolini. “Trump especially is employing the kind of hateful rhetoric and exploiting the insecurities of this nation, in much the same way that allowed Hitler and Mussolini to rise to power in the lead-up to World War II. The parallels are chilling.” Whitman said.

It makes sense then that she is considering voting for Clinton. “You’ll see a lot of Republicans do that,” Whitman said in February. “We don’t want to, but I know I won’t vote for Trump.”

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, also former secretary of Homeland Security, has said Trump is “an embarrassment” and asserted he will not vote for him. “I think Donald Trump is about celebrities, he’s about publicity. He’s not about bringing a serious mindset toward trying to address the wide range of security challenges in this country,” Ridge has said.

Former North Dakota Senator Larry Pressler has gone further than most Republicans in his efforts to stop Trump — he officially endorsed Hillary Clinton after last week’s Orlando shooting. “I can’t believe I’m endorsing Hillary Clinton for president, but I am,” said Pressler. “If someone had told me 10 years ago I would do this, I wouldn’t have believed them.”

Pressler warned of the danger of being silent against what he thinks is “starting to sound like the German elections in [the late 1920s].”

“A lot of Republicans are just saying, ‘I’ll sit it out, I won’t vote.’ Or, ‘I’ll vote for a third-party candidate.’ But if they don’t vote, they are giving more power to dark forces.”

Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who served in the George W. Bush administration, has also announced that he will endorse Clinton over Trump. “He doesn’t appear to be to be a Republican, he doesn’t appear to want to learn about issues. So I’m going to vote for Mrs. Clinton.” he said of Trump.

Armitage, who served in the last three GOP administrations, is the highest ranking Republican former national security official to refuse to support Trump.

 

Photo: Republican U.S. presidental candidate Governor John Kasich speaks to supporters after being declared the winner of the Ohio primary by the television networks, during a campaign rally in Berea, Ohio, March 15, 2016.  REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk

The Definitive List: Who Deserves Blame For The Nomination Of Donald Trump?

This week, the Republican Party wrapped itself in the white flag.

Donald Trump has won enough delegates to to guarantee that he will clinch the GOP nomination. And one of his fiercest opponents, Marco Rubio, cozied up to him, almost begging for a chance to speak at the GOP convention — even after Trump attacked the party’s most prominent Latina.

While a few stray #NeverTrumpers can be heard in the distance, complaining that the self-proclaimed billionaire “makes George Wallace look like Churchill” and vowing to never ever vote for a candidate who is the choice of pretty much any strutting online anti-Semite you can find, resistance is futile.

The GOP is now officially Trump’s party. Yet at the same time, “Very Serious People” want us to absolve the GOP for delivering us a candidate whose great public accomplishments include getting rid of the talent portion of beauty pageants, using racism to undermine America’s first black president, and winning a major party’s nomination by vowing to ban 1.6 billion people from entering the country.

Bloomberg’s Megan McArdle tells us not to blame the Republican party for Trump, rejecting the notion that this insecure conman is a “monster that Republican leaders created” and now “broken free of its chains and was hell bent on destroying its former master.”

McArdle seems to reject the notion that conservatives should be responsible for the ideas they’ve advanced over the past 50 years, because voters ultimately ignored the “horrified pleading of conservative leaders and intellectuals” and backed Trump anyway. As if a few months of caution from the “establishment,” which conservatives have been training primary voters to reject since the inception of the movement, was supposed to be more effective than generations of feeding voters carefully coded messages designed to stir up racial and religious resentment.

We know Republicans are responsible for Trump, because you can be assured they’ll take credit for him if he wins. So here’s a quick review of who deserves the most blame.

  1. Republican voters.
    Trump hasn’t expanded the Republican Party — he has exposed it. Almost no who hadn’t been voting Republican for decades showed up to back Trump in the primary. In times past these Republican-leaning voters sat out the primaries and let the party activists decide whom they would back. Very Serious People caution against suggesting that anyone who backs Trump is bigoted. Economic issues are motivating them, we’re told — even though they tend to be richer than the rest of America and consumers in general are about as confident in the economy now as they were before the recession. If you believe in personal responsibility, you must acknowledge that Trump voters are at least tolerant of bigotry in pursuit of whatever they think he’s promising.
  2. The Republican Party
    McArdle rejects the notion that with the Southern strategy, the GOP “cynically decided to go after the South’s angry white racist vote.” She suggests that it was a logical if opportunistic approach to rising crime in America — that just happened to abandon the black vote for generations. But the Republican National Committee’s chairman admitted the underlying racism of its approach in 2005, back when the party was still trying to expand its base. “Some Republicans gave up on winning the African-American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization,” Ken Mehlman said in 2005. “I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong.” Trump’s constant lying and self-revision appear as “honest” to the GOP base, because he says aloud the same things that the party has been hinting and dog-whistling for generations. And the base had been primed to elect someone with no record of or inclination toward public service. “Normally voters might oppose Trump as flat-out unqualified for the job, both by lack of relevant experience and lack of knowledge of government and public affairs,” Jonathan Bernstein responded to his Bloomberg colleague. “But by giving a megaphone to people like Pat Robertson, Herman Cain, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina, Republicans showed their voters what counts as a ‘normal’ Republican presidential candidate — and it isn’t all that different from Donald Trump.”
  3. Fox News and “the media.”
    Trump has no actual credentials to be taken seriously as a candidate for president. But he had the most important credential to be taken seriously as a conservative — an open invitation to appear on Fox News. You can argue that the most popular news channel in the United States took a hostile view of his early candidacy. He was never denied a chance to show up on the channel for more than a few days, however — despite launching what the channel called “an endless barrage of crude and sexist verbal assaults” against its biggest female star. Now it has all but become an informercial for Trump, with the occasional appeals to sanity from Chris Wallace. Trump had been trying to be taken seriously as a presidential candidate for decades; before the 2000 election he got so serious about his possible Reform Party run that he withheld alimony from his ex-wife when she threatened his ambitions. Birtherism made him a conservative hero and when Fox News gave him a platform for this baldly racist attack on Obama, the network trained conservatives to take him and his outrageous conspiracy claim seriously (which may be why many still believe it today). The remaining media haven’t been much better. You are more likely to see an empty Trump podium on CNN waiting to be graced by our Putin with a weave, than a speech from Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. The media legitimize Trump by ignoring his complete lack of policy knowledge, constant mendacity and refusal to release his tax returns. And no interviewer even dares ask about his birtherism now for a simple reason: Mr. Trump doesn’t want to talk about it.
  4. Mitt Romney
    The last Republican nominee for president is one of the few noble #NeverTrumpers who remain steadfast. Why? “I wanted my grandkids to see that I simply couldn’t ignore what Mr. Trump was saying and doing, which revealed a character and temperament unfit for the leader of the free world,” he told the Wall Street Journal. Good for MItt. But it’s the least he could do. When he stood on stage to accept Trump’s endorsement as Trump was still in the midst of his full birther heat, he legitimized the reality star in a way that Fox News never could, all so he could shake off the “challenge” from Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.
  5. Ted Cruz and the rest of the Not-Ready-for-2016 Players.
    If there was one man who had the credibility with the conservative base to have stopped Trump before he really got going, it was Ted Cruz. Instead, he kept calling Trump “terrific” right up until the point that Donald went birther on him. Then the Texas Senator looked like a conned fool as Trump questioned his faith, called his wife ugly, and suggested his dad was involved in the JFK assassination. He got what what he deserved and so did Jeb Bush, who shied away from attacking or even defending himself against Trump months earlier. The silence and shrugging of Marco Rubio, who occasionally disagreed with Trump but never condemned his wholesale bigotry and complete unreadiness for the job until it was too late, allowed the casino mogul to build momentum. A dozen men who should have known better allowed their party to became the vehicle for the ambitions of a man who has proved the Republican Party has the immune system of an earthworm.

Photo: Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally to highlight POW-MIA issues on Memorial Day weekend in Washington, U.S. May 29, 2016.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst