US election: Donald Trump sorry for obscene remarks on women

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US presidential candidate Donald Trump has apologised for obscene comments about women he made in a newly released videotape from 2005.

Mr Trump said that “these words don’t reflect who I am… I apologise”.

In the video, Mr Trump says “you can do anything” to women “when you’re a star” and brags about trying to grope and kiss women.

Top Republicans condemned the comments. His election rival Hillary Clinton called them “horrific”.

“We cannot allow this man to become president,” sheposted on Twitter.

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Mr Trump’s 90-second statement on Saturday morning appeared to be his first full apology in a campaign laced with controversial remarks.

“I’ve said and done things I regret,” he said. “Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong, and I apologise.

“I’ve never said I’m a perfect person nor pretended to be someone I’m not. I pledge to be a better man tomorrow.”

However, he also tried to deflect the impact by attacking former President Bill Clinton.


Analysis – BBC North America reporter Anthony Zurcher

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a town hall-style forum in Sandown, New Hampshire.Image copyrightAP

Donald Trump has often found himself in hot water for public comments he’s made about women over the years. It turns out he’s said lewd and disparaging things in private as well. Go figure.

The videotape release comes at a most inopportune time for the Republican nominee, who was trying to use his running mate’s well-received debate performance on Tuesday to reboot his campaign after a week of distractions and controversy. On Wednesday he told a local news interviewer that his previous offensive comments about women – which have dogged his campaign since the first Republican primary debate last August – were made for the “purpose of entertainment”.

That explanation doesn’t fit with the boorish, newly married Trump shown on the video privately boasting about his efforts to seduce a married woman and have his way with whomever he pleases.

Now Mr Trump will enter Sunday’s debate with a new cloud hanging over his candidacy. It’s almost certain that one of the town hall participants will ask him about it. There may be no easy way to respond – but Mr Trump will have to find an acceptable answer. If he bungles it, nothing else he says during the 90-minute debate will matter.


“Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked and shamed his victims.

“We’ll discuss this in the coming days,” he said. “See you at the debate on Sunday.”

The second TV debate between Mr Trump and Mrs Clinton will take place on Sunday evening in St Louis.

Mr Trump recently said he would not bring up stories about Bill Clinton’s infidelities in the debate, after previously threatening to do so.

The latest opinion polls suggest Mrs Clinton is pulling ahead in key battleground states and Mr Trump will need a good performance at the debate to slow the trend.

‘I moved on her’

In the video, posted by the Washington Post, Mr Trump is heard bragging to TV host Billy Bush about trying to have sex with a married woman as well as kissing and groping others.

The clip was part of unaired footage of an Access Hollywood segment ahead of Mr Trump’s appearance on the soap opera Days of Our Lives.

“I moved on her and I failed. I’ll admit it,” Mr Trump is heard saying. “She was married. And I moved on her very heavily.

“I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.”

Paul RyanImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionPaul Ryan withdrew an invitation for Mr Trump to attend a Republican event

Later in the conversation, he told Mr Bush he was “automatically attracted to beautiful” women and often tried to kiss them.

“I just start kissing them,” he said. “I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

Top Republicans have been incensed by the comments.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said he was “sickened by what I heard today” and rescinded his invitation to Mr Trump to attend the Republican Fall Fest in his home state of Wisconsin this weekend.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said the comments were “repugnant,” adding that Mr Trump “needs to apologise directly to women and girls everywhere”.

Another senior Republican, John McCain, said there were “no excuses for Donald Trump’s offensive and demeaning comments”.

Who is ahead in the polls?

Headshot of Hillary Clinton

48%

Hillary Clinton

Headshot of Donald Trump

44%

Donald Trump

For his part, Billy Bush said he was “embarrassed” by and “ashamed” of the contents of the video.

“It’s no excuse, but this happened 11 years ago. I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I’m very sorry.”

Mr Trump has said the latest remarks are “nothing more than a distraction” and “locker-room banter”.

He once famously said at a campaign rally in January: “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

He will be hoping his latest comments follow that trend.

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