I wanted to be shocked to read Donald Trump’s lewd comments from 2005 when they were leaked on Friday. I wanted to be horrified to find that the Republican presidential nominee would speak about groping women and kissing them without their consent in such a coarse, degrading way. However, this is the type of behavior I’ve come to expect from Trump ever since he announced his campaign last summer, and I am certain I am not alone in this sentiment.
His words prove his misogyny, like when he suggested in graphic detail that Megan Kelly was menstruating during the first GOP debate. His words also prove his unprofessionalism, like when he repeatedly interrupted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in both presidential debates. His words prove he lacks a filter, like when he said he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” and still not lose voters.
Trump has repeatedly referred to the leaked tape as “locker room banter.” This statement is accurate; I can only imagine those types of conversations being had in a locker room of teenage boys – clamoring to impress each other with their vulgarity. He said it was a conversation had in private and that it doesn’t reflect upon his character. Yet aren’t those conversations held behind closed doors the ones where we truly reveal ourselves? He said Bill Clinton has said worse to him before. This is hardly a defense, as Clinton’s lewdness made him go down in infamy and proves that the population doesn’t condone such behavior.
Trump’s belittling and bullying stretches back as far as he has been in the public spotlight. He called former Miss Universe Alicia Machado “Miss Housekeeping” and “Miss Piggy” in the 90s and has since defended his slurs. He mocked the appearance of Serge Kovaleski, a disabled reporter for the New York Times. He brushed off Sen. John McCain’s time as a prisoner of war, where he was tortured.
It is clear Trump’s lack of character is deeply rooted, and it is made clearer by the leaked tape. What Trump said about how he treats women describes sexual assault. Despite Trump’s excuses, sexual assault and his degrading comments about women are nothing to joke about. Such words don’t belong in the locker room. Such words don’t belong on the golf course. And such words certainly don’t belong in the Oval Office.
Judging from the electorate’s reaction to Trump’s previous behavior, those who have decided to vote for him probably won’t change their mind after reading about the leaked tape. But those who don’t intend to vote, I urge you to reconsider. You don’t have to vote for Clinton, as there are still third party candidates. You can also write in a name if you don’t like any of those options. Don’t think of it as throwing away your vote, but think of it as a statement that you don’t condone such mistreatment of women. It’s time to move away from a culture of violence and gender inequality – one that Baylor and universities across the nation are too familiar with.