I try to avoid listening to Donald Trump whenever possible, but it’s been hard since he’s become a major party nominee for president. The man says misogynistic things quite regularly, and it is uncomfortable and disturbing to witness.
So when the Washington Post published a video Friday afternoon in which, they claimed, Trump was caught having “extremely lewd” conversations about women, I almost didn’t watch it. More of the same, right? We already know Trump is a misogynist.
But I watched the tape. And even though I knew this about Trump, I feel sicker after seeing it than I can remember feeling in a while. It’s not just the vulgarity of the comments, though they’re plenty vulgar.
This video reveals the private Donald Trump to the public. As if public Donald Trump wasn’t bad enough, this video reminds us that there’s an aspect of the man that’s even worse than what he shows to the public. You see it in the transformation Trump and his conversation partner Billy Bush undergo when they exit the bus and move from (what they assumed was) a private sphere into a public one. They are still committing acts of sexual harassment and abusing their power when they ask the actress who greets them to give each of them a hug. But they’re buttoning up—they know the tone of the conversation they had on the bus cannot be repeated in anything close to a public sphere.
It’s not the comments that are so shocking. As graphic and violent as the contents of the video are, most women have heard worse. What’s shocking is that I thought I had a handle on the extent of the misogyny of the man. I thought that his apparent lack of filter meant that the casual misogyny he constantly displays was as bad as it gets.
It’s not. In this video, Trump is joking about sexual assault. That is apparently what he does in private. And this is just one time, when his mic has happened to be on.
In the video Trump tells Bush: “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.” He adds that stars of his magnitude can “Grab [women] by the pussy. You can do anything.” This chimes with Jill Harth’s allegation that Trump sexually assaulted her in 1993. In July, she told the Guardian that Trump groped her. She says he “pushed me up against the wall, and had his hands all over me and tried to get up my dress.”
The new video provides direct proof that Donald Trump is even worse than he typically reveals himself to be, and that was already pretty bad. Disturbingly, it means that Trump realizes there is some sexism that should be hidden, so the things he’s said in public have passed through his personal filter of what’s OK.