Sunday night’s debate opened with Anderson Cooper asking pointed questions of Donald Trump about the audio released Friday in which he can be heard boasting about sexually assaulting women. “No, I didn’t say that,” Trump insisted.
When Cooper repeatedly asked if he actually assaulted a woman, Trump avoided the yes-or-no question at first, instead simply saying, “I have great respect for women.” Eventually, he said, “No, I have not done those things.”
Throughout the exchange, Trump again insisted that it was “locker room talk,” adding, “It’s just words, folks. It’s just words.”
— New York Times Video (@nytvideo) October 10, 2016
Trump’s words in the leaked audio included his claim, “I’m automatically attracted to beautiful [women]— I just start kissing them, it’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.” He went on say, “When you’re a star, [women] let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”
Besides the leaked audio, many women have come forward to say that Trump has sexually assaulted them — and not just in the past few days. Makeup artist Jill Harth, for example, sued Trump in 1997, accusing him of “attempted ‘rape.’” In July, she explained to The Guardian, “ He pushed me up against the wall, and had his hands all over me and tried to get up my dress.” Her romantic partner was in the next room.