Of all the national conversations spawned by Donald Trump’s ungoverned mouth — whether about relations with the US’ neighbours to the South or Americans whose parents were born south of the border, about the role of religious freedom and tolerance in our society or the need to respect the dignity of everyone, including people with disabilities — none has had quite the overwhelmingly unexpected consequence as the torrent of sexual assault allegations unleashed by the release of the Access Hollywood outtakes.

The Washington Post and NBC News recently reported on a video from 2005 in which Trump is having a conversation with TV host Billy Bush as they arrived at a location for Mr. Trump’s cameo on the soap opera “Days of Our Lives.” In the remarks, Trump bragged that he can “just start kissing” women without asking their permission, because he’s “a star,” and added that he can also “grab them by the p—y” if he so desires. When the story was published, Trump claimed it was just “locker room banter,” as if that makes it fine. It doesn’t — and the phrase “locker room banter” is almost as much of a problem as Trump’s initial remarks. While the microphone recording highlights the Republican presidential nominee’s sexual insensitivity, it also has opened the door to a frank, national conversation about unwanted sexual advances and harassment.

He responded by putting out a statement that dismissed his comments as “locker room banter.” And both before and during the second presidential debate, he doubled down on that statement by once again dismissing his 2005 comments as nothing more than “locker room talk.” Trump’s “locker room talk” has made him look bad, but it’s also reflected poorly on athletes, too. In a response, many athletes countered the argument via social media platform, saying that, unfortunately, we’re sure that some do, but we’re also pretty confident that the majority of athletes don’t talk like Trump did. Over the last few days numerous athletes have spoken up on social media and pointed out that they most definitely do not use lewd phrases like “grab them by the p—y” in the locker room.

The comments mark a fresh setback for Mr. Trump, whose derogatory remarks about women, immigrants and others have haunted his campaign. In recent weeks, his feud with a former Miss Universe over her weight was seen as another stumble for the candidate, who previously carried out public fights with a federal judge and the parents of a war hero. Ninni Laaksonen, a former Miss Finland in the Miss Universe competition that Trump once owned, has become the 12th woman to openly accuse Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump of sexual assault. She alleged in an interview with the Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat that Trump groped her before an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman in 2006.

Following a GOP debate, Donald Trump took to Twitter and various talk shows to insult the Fox News’ Megyn Kelly with incredibly sexist comments that angered both Republicans and Democrats. He made zero statements about the altercation during an appearance on Fox News, but despite the silence, Trump is notorious for his brash statements about women, to the point that he’s got a consistent arsenal of quips against them. He frequently denounces women based on their appearance and through objectification, slut-shaming, and all-out misogyny.

After Donald Trump got caught making a series of wildly inappropriate remarks about women, his insults have even extended to fellow political candidates. In a tweet that has since been deleted, Trump insinuated that Hillary Clinton would make a bad president because of her sexual relationship with Bill Clinton.

Trump has consistently had a problem with being viewed negatively by female voters. When all voters in the same poll were asked if they were concerned about Mr. Trump’s language about women, immigrants and Muslims, 54% of the respondents said they had major concerns. In the September, WSJ/NBC poll, 24% of female respondents had a positive view of the Republican nominee, while 64% had a negative view, with 53% rating it as “very negative.”

Following allegations of sexual assaults and leaked inappropriate comments, Trump has come under increased criticism over his apparent treatment of women in recent weeks.

-By Aarzoo Snigdha


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