Is Donald Trump’s campaign over?
sábado, 8 de outubro de 2016
Robert De Niro was told to give a neutral speech asking people to vote, ... / Is Donald Trump’s campaign over?
Is Donald Trump’s campaign over?
The Republican nominee’s talk of sexually preying on women makes Romney’s ’47 percent’ tape seem like a high-minded Great Courses lecture.
By GLENN THRUSH AND KATIE GLUECK 10/8/16, 9:40 AM CET Updated 10/8/16, 2:30 PM CET
It’s fitting that the election of Hillary Clinton as the first female president might have been sealed by Donald Trump’s treatment of women as subordinate, interchangeable, pliable playthings.
Trump — a compulsively public politician who has mouthed some of the most hilarious (intentionally or otherwise), offensive, fact-allergic and misogynistic statements by anyone competing in the public arena — might be ultimately undone by a private admission about a woman he wanted to have sex with.
There has never been a major party nominee like Trump, and there has never been anything like the release of Trump speaking about women in the most vulgar and demeaning terms in a 2005 hot mic recording — including the nauseating admissions that he made an apparently unwanted pass on a married woman and that he liked to grope the women he courted whether they liked it or not.
Americans don’t trust politicians (it’s one of the biggest reasons for Trump’s improbable rise), but they trust their eyes and ears. And the recording of Trump talking with radio and TV host Billy Bush makes a starker case that he’s unsuited to occupy the nation’s highest office — rendering Mitt Romney’s infamous leaked “47 percent” tape seem like a high-minded Great Courses lecture.
That disclosure in September 2012, polls showed, had a significant impact on the race — but this exponentially uglier exchange has the potential to plunge Trump, already reeling in the polls, into a final death spiral by alienating his female supporters, undecided voters and hold-your-nose-and-vote Trump mainstream conservatives, Democratic and Republican operatives told POLITICO.
Some Republicans saw Friday’s avalanche of disclosures — coming after a week of self-defeating missteps and message confusion — as Trump’s coup de grace.
“There’s no path for him electorally,” said Rick Tyler, former communications director for Ted Cruz, the senator who offered Trump a late-in the-game endorsement after refusing to do so at the party’s convention in Cleveland. “Now amazing things can happen, and they have, but the trajectory he’s on, he has no path, and if he has another bad debate on Sunday — well, there’s just no way he can afford another bad debate.”
Added Karen Fesler, an Iowa conservative activist who still supports Trump: “He does not make it easy to support him.” When asked if she was still backing him, she replied, “I’m Never Hillary.”
The mainstream Republican leadership, which engaged in months of external introspection over whether or not to endorse a man whose candidacy they privately deplored, renounced him with the venom of pent-up resentment 48 hours before his high-stakes second debate with Clinton. House Speaker Paul Ryan scrapped a joint appearance with Trump in Wisconsin this weekend, and Senator John McCain, who said he’d voted for a man who cruelly ridiculed his imprisonment in North Vietnam declared, “No woman should ever be victimized by this kind of inappropriate behavior. He alone bears the burden of his conduct and alone should suffer the consequences” — without defining what those consequences should be.
The most immediate impact of the audiotape: Panic by down-ballot Republicans who scampered to denounce Trump as Democrats pounced. One of the most forceful defections came from the maverick Republican congressman from Utah, Jason Chaffetz, who told CNN, “That was an apology for getting caught,” while also declaring, “I’m out!”
The tape revelations prompted the release of other, more disturbing allegations of sexually predatory behavior. Late Friday, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof detailed another case of what he called “groping” by Trump, reporting that the developer had laid hands on a dinner party guest in the presence of her husband in 1992. “I didn’t know how to handle it,” the woman told Kristof. “I would go away from him and say I have to go to the restroom. It was the escape route.”
CNN’s Erin Burnett related a more recent example of purported lechery: In 2010, Trump invited a friend of hers into his Trump Tower office and made an unwelcome, unexpected pass. “That’s exactly what Trump did to me,” she told Burnett. “Trump took Tic Tacs, suggested that I take them also. He then leaned in … catching me off guard and kissed me almost on the lips. I was really freaked out.”
There have been few genuine knock-out blows in recent elections — the last big one was the revelation that George McGovern’s 1972 running mate Thomas Eagleton had undergone electroshock treatments for depression, which prompted his removal from the ticket.
“I don’t know how you recover from something like that” — Alfonso Aguilar, president of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles
But some Republicans saw Friday’s avalanche of disclosures — coming after a week of self-defeating missteps and message confusion — as Trump’s coup de grace.
One Republican state chairman who has previously said he is backing his party’s standard-bearer, says his own wife, a “staunch Republican,” is now considering the unthinkable — voting for Clinton, something he noted other women across the country are considering, especially following Friday’s audio release.
“That knocking sound you hear is that final nail entering Trump’s coffin,” the official said. “The Republican Party nominee has effectively mocked his own marriage and suggested sexual assault. It’s just so beyond indefensible, I just really don’t have any words. I don’t know how anyone can defend this.”
It’s a “smoking gun” confirming he’s a hardcore misogynist and not just a benign, politically incorrect playboy, the chairman added, echoing an increasingly commonly held opinion that the seemingly self-destructive candidate had finally destroyed himself.
“I don’t know how you recover from something like that,” said Alfonso Aguilar, the president of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, who had supported Trump before abandoning him last month after the nominee gave a particularly harsh immigration speech. “But I think all Republicans must come out now and denounce him forcefully and call on him to withdraw. He cannot remain the party standard-bearer after those comments.”
Several pro-Trump pastors took to social media to defend their man — even after he was captured on tape boasting about his efforts to bed a married woman, speaking months after he married his third wife Melania. But the conservative blogger Erick Erickson, an evangelical Christian, says he thinks this particular revelation is of the end-times variety.
“This morning, polling showed 40 percent of Protestant pastors in the U.S. were undecided in 2016,” he Tweeted late Friday. “Probably much less than that tonight.”
“These words don’t reflect who I am. I said it. I was wrong, and I apologize” — Donald Trump
Defiance is no longer a luxury the brash candidate can afford, not after his unimpressive showing in the first debate – and subsequent rants, which included a defense of comments he made about the weight of a former Miss Universe. Trump, who has breezily dismissed controversies in the past by issuing blanket denials, counter-attacking or mocking reporters seems, at long last, to have grasped the perils of non-contrition. His statement, an hour after the Washington Post broke the story, began with a shot at Bill Clinton but transitioned into the rarest of Trump expressions — an apology, of sorts.
“I apologize if anyone was offended,” Trump said in a statement, referring to his saltier comments (“I grab [women] by the pussy,” he told Bush) as locker room banter.
Later, he released a videotaped mea culpa that was less than full-throated. “I never said I’m a perfect person nor pretended to be someone I’m not,” Trump said. “I’ve said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more than decade-old video are one of them. These words don’t reflect who I am. I said it. I was wrong, and I apologize.”
Donald Trump is joined on stage by his wife Melania Trump after delivering his acceptance speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention in July | Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
But he quickly reverted to his familiar, brash, attacking-is-defending approach.
“I’ve said some foolish things, but there is a big difference between the words and actions of other people. Bill Clinton has actually abused women and Hillary has bullied, attacked, intimidated and shamed his victims,” he added. “We will discuss this more in the coming days. See you at the debate on Sunday.”
Trump, a branding whiz with an intuitive understanding of pop culture, gets why this controversy is bigger and more dangerous than the dozens of quotidian outrages he’s been accused of during a year-and-a-half of open-mic campaigning, people in his orbit said.
“An actual tape is different,” a Republican ally of Trump’s told POLITICO. “It’s got his voice. That makes a difference.”
Saul Anuzis, former chair of the Michigan Republican party and a former Cruz campaign adviser who is still supporting Trump, said, “It will probably have a negative effect, at least in the short term. The question is, is it a sustaining damage? That’s hard to say. It’s unfortunate, it’s embarrassing, you wish it weren’t out there, but I don’t think it’s necessarily disqualifying.”
Austin Barbour, a prominent Mississippi-based Republican operative, said Trump could survive — but added that the damage inflicted was simply too much to overcome for key parts of his base.
“Oh, it matters. But how much does it matter?” Barbour asked. “This hurts him with … independent women, undecided women, of course it hurts him, everyone knows that. When you look in states like Mississippi or North Carolina or the panhandle of Florida, central Pennsylvania, really conservative areas, I think it hurts him with white seniors, one- or two-time, particularly two-time a week churchgoers, particularly ones in rural areas. They’re the ones going to be the most turned off by this. They’re not going to vote for Hillary at all, they despise Hillary, but this is going to be too much for them to take.
“They are his base, but there’s going to be some percentage of them, I don’t know what it is, that he’s going to lose their support.”
For Clinton, who has spent much of the campaign being lashed by Trump and the media over her email scandal, the last week has been one of the few enjoyable stretches of a campaign that even her closest aides describe as a draining ordeal. And on Friday, they expressed a sense of vindication — and poetic justice — that a womanizing bully was being humbled by the women he’s humiliated.
One giddy Clinton ally — taking a moment from fretting about the largely overshadowed release of internal campaign emails by WikiLeaks — put it this way: “This is what we call irony.… A guy who really loves f—ing, you know, he basically just f—ed himself out of the race.”
Glenn Thrush and Katie Glueck