Also worth noting that Trump's video from last night did not include an apology to Melania or to Nancy O'Dell, who he later tried to fire.— Rebecca Eisenberg (@ryeisenberg) October 8, 2016
Donald Trumps wife, Melania, has accepted Donald Trump’s apology for his lewd 2005 remarks about Access Hollywood’s Nancy O’Dell—and hoped the American people would accept his apology. But not before slamming her husband’s remark’s as “unacceptable and offensive.”
The words my husband used are unacceptable and offensive to me. This does not represent the man that I know. He has the heart and mind of a leader. I hope people will accept his apology, as I have, and focus on the important issues facing our nation and the world. "
Trump was caught in a hot mic moment back in 2005 with Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush on the set of Days of our Lives, where the billionaire boasted about trying to get Bush’s colleague—O’Dell—to sleep with him. He also made a graphic remark about how famous women, adding, “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful -- I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything...Grab them by the p---y. You can do anything.”
Trump released a statement of his own yesterday about the audio:
“This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course - not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.”
Trump then offered a taped apology, where he said hos remarks were foolish, wrong, and offered an apology, promising to be a better man. But soon said this story was a distraction from the real issues, where he closed by mentioning the Clintons. There was no direct apology to his wife, to Ms. O’Dell, or to his supporters and sitting politicians who have openly endorsed his candidacy for the presidency. Maggie Haberman of The New York Times had more, where she touched upon how the normal methods of extinguishing this PR fire don’t apply to Mr. Trump for the simple reason that he’s prone to go off the rails.
Here is my statement. pic.twitter.com/WAZiGoQqMQ— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2016
Oddly, Mr. Trump seemed to frame his comments not as sincere concern about those he may have hurt or offended, but as part of his own journey, describing his growth as a person and how humbling it has been for him to campaign across the nation and learn of other people’s worries and travails.
“I’ve traveled the country talking about change for America, but my travels have also changed me,” he said, describing meeting mothers who have lost children and people who have lost their jobs.
Before the release of the short statement, advisers to Mr. Trump had huddled with him at Trump Tower, along with his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, to discuss how to respond to the crisis. The advisers cautioned against holding a news conference, something that had been discussed, because it could become unwieldy and spin out of his control. They realized they needed to address the issue quickly, at a minimum to try to stop the defections of Republican officials who had begun to shun and loudly denounce him.
But one adviser to Mr. Trump cautioned before the statement that if the candidate mentioned Mrs. Clinton, it would fail.
Mr. Trump did just that.
Haberman did note that Trump’s behavior over the past 36 hours is a departure from his usual double down, “I could do no wrong” approach to these controversies. That’s usually led to bolstering his support, but not now. While some of us, myself included, thought the first presidential debate was a draw—the vast majority thought Clinton won handily. It led to down ticket races tightening, along with Clinton taking a slim lead over Trump, whereas before they were in a dead heat. This story is bound to have a similar effect to when Trump took on a gold star family after the Democratic National Convention, which also drew universal condemnation. We are a month away from Election Day. He can’t afford to look anymore ridiculous that he already is with these remarks. Tomorrow will afford Trump another chance to truly apologize for these comments that shouldn't include mentioning the Clintons and will hopefully be directly at his wife, Ms. O’Dell, and his supporters. Yes, Trump is letting us down with these indefensible and ludicrous remarks. Yes, we know that Hillary Clinton has her own political baggage, but this is all about him and his words. He needs to own it, especially given the fact that Melania was probably pregnant when Trump uttered these rather unsavory words.
For this to work, Trump is going to have to embody a personality that he has long viewed as anathema, but if he can—it might be possible for him to turn it around (a tall order). Yet, given his own family’s aversion to his suggestion of doing a press conference because they know they tend to be out of control, it’s doubtful this will come about.