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Trump's campaign manager: please stop calling Trump's "pussy" comments "sexual assault"

Kellyanne Conway said Trump "did not say the word 'sexual assault.'” Okay then.

Hillary Clinton And Donald Trump Face Off In First Presidential Debate At Hofstra University Photo by Michael Bocchieri/Getty Images

During Sunday night’s presidential debate, Donald Trump repeatedly dodged moderator Anderson Cooper’s attempts to call him out for bragging about sexual assault in leaked comments that surfaced on Friday.

Let’s be clear: “Sexual assault” is absolutely the right way to describe what Trump says on those tapes. It’s possible that Trump was boasting to Billy Bush in 2005 about something that didn’t happen, but when Trump claims he “can do anything” to women because he’s a star, including “grab ’em by the pussy,” he is describing sexual assault. That is what you call it when someone grabs a woman and touches her genitals without her consent.

But it seems that Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway really wishes people would stop using the words “sexual assault” to describe sexual assault.

After the debate, CNN’s Dana Bash asked Conway what she thought about Trump’s response to Cooper, in which he doubled down on saying that the exchange on the tapes were just “locker room talk.”

“The term ‘locker room talk,’” Bash said to Conway. “You had the highest-ranking woman in Congress — Republican woman, Cathy McMorris Rodgers — blowing that off, and saying, ‘No, no, no, this is suggesting sexual assault.’”

“That’s a very unfortunate phrase, and people really should stop using it,” Conway said.

“Why?” Bash said.

“Because I know him better, and I know better,” Conway said.

“But it’s what he said,” Bash said.

“He did not say the word ‘sexual assault,’” Conway said.

First of all, Conway suggested that if Trump didn’t literally use the words “sexual assault,” it meant he wasn’t talking about sexual assault.

Second, she suggested that just because Trump hasn’t assaulted her, that means he can’t possibly have assaulted anyone else, or even have joked about doing so. Conway said later that Trump had “never been anything but gracious and gentle” around her — but unfortunately, just because a guy seems nice doesn’t mean he couldn’t commit assault.

Most disturbingly, though, Conway just doesn’t want the media to call a spade a spade. In defending her candidate on this issue, Conway is retreating into an absurd degree of literalism. She can’t defend his actions, and so she retreats into defending his words — but she’s still denying the actual meaning of those words.

Trump’s campaign may prefer to gaslight America and pretend none of this really happened, but it did.

We have it on tape.


Watch: GOP, only now you realize Trump is Sexist?