By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump says lewd sexual comments he made about women in a recently released 2005 audio recording were simply “locker-room talk” and that former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who had been accused of sexual misconduct, has done “far worse.”
In his second U.S. presidential debate with Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, Trump said on October 9 that he is “not proud” of the comments in the video released two days earlier but that “the carnage all over the world” is a more pressing issue for the United States. He denied that he had actually committed any of the actions that he bragged about on the tape.
He said that Bill Clinton, his opponent’s husband, had done far worse to women.
“Mine are words and his are action,” Trump said at the debate at Washington University in St. Louis.
Prior to the debate, Trump met with Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, and Juanita Broaddrick in St. Louis in a bid to deflect attention away from his own conduct and sexual remarks about women.
All three women have accused Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton’s husband, of unwanted sexual advances. Broaddrick says that Bill Clinton raped her in 1978, but her lawsuit was dismissed and no criminal charges were filed. Clinton denies the allegations.
Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, said during the debate that the video is further evidence that Trump is unfit for the White House.
“He has said the video doesn’t represent who he is but I think it’s clear to anyone who heard it that it represents exactly who he is,” she said in response to Trump.
The release of the video has plunged the Republican Party into crisis, with numerous senior lawmakers and governors in the party publically saying they would not vote for Trump and some calling for the candidate to quit the race.
Trump would be required to resign his nomination in order for party leaders to select a new candidate, but the businessman and former reality TV star has said he does not plan to step aside.
A Reuters-Ipsos showed Clinton leading Trump by five points in the race on October 7, prior to the release of the video later that day.
The town-hall style debate is giving audience members a chance to ask the candidates questions directly.