This week brings yet another controversial quote from presidential candidate Donald Trump. A video recording of a lewd conversation Trump had with a reporter in 2005 has surfaced and is being heavily criticized. Not only his opponents, but some of his supporters as well. Writer David A. Fahrenthold reports: “Donald Trump bragged in vulgar terms about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women during a 2005 conversation caught on a hot microphone, saying that “when you’re a star, they let you do it,” according to a video obtained by the Washington Post.”
But why is this Trump tape a breaking point for many in the G.O.P.? Why is this instance worse than Trump’s offensive rhetoric against handicapped reporters, or Islamic parents of fallen U.S. soldiers? Did Trump cross an invisible line in the conservative establishment?
These questions potentially find in answer when both the implication of Trump’s quote and his explanation of it are analyzed. Although Trump may not have intended to advocate for sexual assault when he made the comment, it’s clear how many could misrepresent what was said to mean just that. It is also important to consider that the comment has become a statement perceived by many to be degrading towards women. A broad demographic that has a huge influence on the outcome of the election. Even Trump’s male supporters have made statements that connect the impact of Trumps comments in the video on their daughters, wives, sisters, and any other meaningful female figures they have a connection to.
Trumps explanation of the tape is also cause for his male supports to abandon the Trump train. In statements following the release of the video, Trump justified his comments as simply locker room braggadocio, something that “men” commonly talk about. This generalization of an entire gender as one that condones and takes part in vulgar sexual conversation behind closed doors was met with strong disapproval.
As the exodus of republicans from the Trump campaign continues it will be interesting to see if he can bounce back from this setback. For the first time Trump’s controversial comments have not earned him an increase in the polls. Although this might not be indicative of the outcome of the election, it does support the idea that voters are getting tired of the reality TV antics. People are realizing that the election is almost here, and they want to see what a viable presidential candidate will bring to the table.