Can a video tape deal a death blow to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign? Could the unthinkable really happen?
The Republican presidential candidate is in a deep shit – excuse my English here – after the release of a 2005 video tape this Friday in which he bragged about groping and trying to have sex with women. He came out in the soap opera as a skilled predator who used his ‘celebrity’ status to do whatever he wanted with women – married or unmarried – while he was already married to his 3rd wife. In this video, he revealed himself as a filthy, vulgar, sexually obsessed and aggressive SOB with no moral compass. Of course, such a revelation should not have surprised anyone, except perhaps the Republican die-hards who wants to remain in their cocoon state of mind.
This was the second major revelation, or ‘October surprise’. Last week the New York Times revealed that Trump took a $916 million loss on his 1995 taxes, which could have relieved him from paying federal income taxes for as many as 18 years
In recent weeks several women have come out to expose Trump’s predatory behavior at business and off the TV set.
While being married, he had been philandering all those years. Apparently his current wife and perhaps his older children, too, have gotten used to the fact that Donald would philander with other women. It is the norm, and not an exception, for a pervert like Donald!
Before the video tape emerged many of the towering figures within the GOP, including former presidents, had already vowed not to vote for Trump. Now other GOP leaders are finding the latest episode of the Trump-case a major embarrassment for the party and their candidates. They want him to drop out of the race. No ifs and buts.
House speaker Paul Ryan is “sickened” by Trump’s lewd comments about women in the 2005 video. He also asked Trump not to appear at a scheduled campaign stop in his home state of Wisconsin on Saturday. “I am sickened by what I heard today,” Ryan said in a statement. “Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified. 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.”
Poor Ryan! After avoiding the GOP presidential nominee for months when he was just getting ready to appear with him in public, on the campaign trail, for the first time in the general election, Trump shames him. According to the Washington Post, this isn't the first time that Trump has made life difficult for Ryan within a 24-hour period. “Ryan endorsed Trump in June. Literally the next day, Trump questioned a federal judge's objectivity, citing his ‘Hispanic’ heritage.” (Ryan was forced to call that "the textbook definition of racism.")
“No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever,” said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus in a statement, a rare condemnation from the party's chairman who has stood by Trump through several other controversies.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., issued one of the most strongly worded statements, late Friday: "As the father of three daughters, I strongly believe that Trump needs to apologize directly to women and girls everywhere, and take full responsibility for the utter lack of respect for women shown in his comments on that tape."
Republican strategists warned that the new revelations would likely hurt Trump, especially with women voters. Meanwhile, vulnerable GOP candidates and sitting lawmakers either sought to distance themselves quickly or remained eerily silent.
“His comments are totally inappropriate and offensive,” said Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), who is locked in one of the most competitive Senate races in the country. By the time Ayotte released the curt one-sentence comment, her Democratic opponent, New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, had already sought to tie her to Trump, reminding voters that at a debate earlier in the week, she called Trump a role model.
“These vile comments from Donald Trump cannot be excused,” Hassan said in a statement. "It is beyond comprehension how Sen. Ayotte could continue to support this man for the highest office in the land, let alone call him a role model.”
In a statement, Trump described the recording as "locker room banter.” He added, “Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course, not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.” As can be seen, he did not characterize it sexual assault, and instead tried to justify his inexcusable behavior.
Longtime Trump foe Jeb Bush, ex-president George W’s younger brother, signaled that Trump's couched apology was insufficient. "As the grandfather of two precious girls, I find that no apology can excuse away Donald Trump's reprehensible comments degrading women,” Bush tweeted.
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) who has long been a vocal critic of Trump, exploded on Twitter. "DJT (Donald J. Trump) is a malignant clown — unprepared and unfit to be president of the United States,” Kirk said. He demanded that the Republican Party break from Trump.
And former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, a Republican who recently said he would vote for Trump, called for Trump to resign. "In a campaign cycle that has been nothing but a race to the bottom — at such a critical moment for our nation — and with so many who have tried to be respectful of a record primary vote, the time has come for Governor Pence to lead the ticket," Huntsman told The Salt Lake Tribune.
Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee who has vocally criticized Trump said that Trump's comments "corrupt America's" image to the world.
"This is a moment of truth for Republicans," said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV. "It is time for every Republican elected official in this county to revoke their endorsements of Donald Trump and state that they will not vote for their party's nominee, who has been caught on tape bragging about routinely sexually assaulting women.
"There is no way to defend the indefensible. In the name of decency, Republicans should admit that this deviant – this sociopath – cannot be president," he added.
In the USA, if someone had committed such sexual assaults on a woman he would be arrested, prosecuted and end up in jail. And yet, Trump has managed to remain free.
Can America afford to have a president who has dodged the system not only to evading taxes for decades but also in assaulting women sexually without ever being put behind the prison bars? Will this lewd video tape end the presidential aspiration of Donald Trump? Can such an immoral person lead America to greatness? Can he be trusted for doing the right thing at the critical time?
I guess we shall have to wait to find those answers.
In spite of Trump’s many flaws in character he has many cheerleaders. They are the anti-establishment ‘outsiders’ to the Republican Party. They have found their messiah in Trump who want him to run and win the election. And Trump is not quitting either.
Trump’s political ascendancy has already shown that the GOP is divided as never before and needs serious overhaul immediately to stop further fissures or meltdown within the party.
That overhaul must start with introspection. The party leaders must find answers to why and how the party of Abraham Lincoln transformed itself into a party of exclusion (and not inclusion), a party that demeans (and not respects) women and other minorities, a party that proudly wears the emblem of racism and bigotry (and not multi-culturalism), and a party – thanks to the guys like Trump and Giuliani – where the old slogans of upholding ‘family values’ have become a crass joke. They must also find answers to why and how the party of Eisenhower got hijacked by a vocal few who promote war and remind us more of fascism than of democracy.
For too long, the Republicans have allowed the war-mongers, the ‘War Party’ – sold to the ‘military industrial complex’, the ‘Amen Corner’ in the Capitol Hill – expediters of the Armageddon, and the right-wing talk show hosts and the Fox News to formulate and dictate the policy of the party. Fear mongering and hatred of the ‘others’ became indispensable tablets that were pushed down the throat of its mesmerized or gullible supporters to get the party’s hawkish candidates elected.
So, the meteoric rise of a populist leader like Trump with fascistic leanings who has mastered the art of showmanship and who could exploit people’s fear was only waiting to happen in this toxic environment of politics. Wake up, Republican Party!
But still the GOP leadership can redeem itself. If it is serious about capturing the moral high ground – preached so often now by its charismatic House Speaker – its leadership must amend its rule to dump Trump. This would require a majority of the party's Rules Committee and two-thirds of the entire party. This may be difficult, but is both necessary and feasible. Its failure to dump Trump will be a catastrophe – sure to permanently divide the party.