Fourteen months on the campaign trail apparently outweighs decades of public life, at least for the dwindling number of Trump loyalists.
Voters needn’t worry about Donald Trump saying he gropes women and gets away with it because he’s famous, Rudy Giuliani repeatedly claimed on Sunday, because the process of campaigning for high office has left Trump a changed man.
“That was then and this is now. He’s gone through 14 months of running for president, and as you know running for president does something to change you,” Giuliani told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.
“I think that alone has put a heavier weight of responsibility on his shoulders than he ever had when even he was an entertainment star in the star of the apprentice,” the ex-mayor said on CNN. “It’s a different man that emerges when you campaign around the country for a year and a half and hear the concerns and the problems of the American people.”
CNN host Jake Tapper responded by noting that Trump was “59 or 60 years old” when he bragged on a hot mic about being able to sexually assault women because “when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy.”
Giuliani tried again on NBC, but again flubbed the spin by accusing Hillary Clinton of being two different people in public and in private. Todd pounced.
“Should we assume Donald Trump on that bus is what he’s like in private? That’s what you’re saying,” Todd said.
Giuliani sighed heavily before responding that “this is a situation where neither side should throw stones, because both sides have sinned.”
The line led Giuliani’s spin in each interview, including an appearance on CBS’ Face the Nation. “He’s a different man now than he was then having gone through 14 months of a campaign that having gone through it myself convinces you of a lot of things are important that maybe you don’t realize before,” he told John Dickerson.
“He has his set of flaws, I have mine,” he added. “I guess there are a few perfect people, but in my view there’s only been one and that was Jesus Christ.”
Giuliani was the only Trump surrogate to appear on the Sunday news shows, after others like GOP chairman Reince Priebus and campaign chair Kellyanne Conway either withdrew or were sidelined by the campaign.
He offered the same spin on each show — and in the version of it he gave to Fox News’ Chris Wallace, the former New York mayor even invoked his own experience with the September 11 terrorist attacks.
“[Campaigns] literally make you into a different kind of person. I think September 11th and running for president made me a different kind of person,” he said.
It’d be easier to push a ball of molasses up a sand dune than convince people that Trump has abandoned misogynistic thinking since running for office. He has continued to attack women who criticize him over their appearance throughout the race. The week after the first debate, he doubled down on the idea that a former winner of his beauty pageant was horrible because she put on weight after winning.
Trump’s habit of deriding women today and his avowed belief he can take what he wants sexually in the 2005 recordings published Friday lend weight to a long string of allegations about his actual behavior toward women.
Multiple women have accused Trump of violating them in various ways down the years.
Makeup artist Jill Harth says Trump pushed her against a wall in his daughter’s bedroom and tried to reach up her dress in 1993 while her husband was in another room of Trump’s Florida estate. Trump denies the story. A Miss USA contestant in 1997 named Temple Taggart says the first time she ever met Trump he walked up and kissed her square on the lips. CNN anchor Erin Burnett relayed a similar story from an unnamed friend.
An unidentified woman sued Trump earlier this year saying he raped her in 1994. Jane Doe was 13 at the time, according to her lawsuit, which details that he tied her to a bed and hit her when she screamed. Trump again denies the allegations in the suit, which is due for an initial hearing in December.
Trump’s ex-wife Ivana has also said Trump once raped her during their marriage, in 1989. Trump’s attorney responded by claiming that men can’t rape their own wives.
Those are just the most directly physical allegations women have made against Trump, out of dozens more stories about his aggressive private behavior with models, pageant contestants, and others.