Even Donald Trump’s most loyal surrogates can’t defend his "grab 'em by the pussy" comments as understandable, forgivable locker room banter.
They can’t even promise he hasn’t committed sexual assault.
Appearing on ABC’s This Week on Sunday morning, top Trump defender Rudy Giuliani conceded that the leaked 2005 audio of Trump captured the Republican nominee talking about sexual assault.
"That's what he was talking about," Giuliani told George Stephanopoulos. To make matters worse, Giuliani added that he "didn’t know" if his candidate had committed sexual assault in the past.
Rudy Giuliani on whether Trump was describing sexual assault on 2005 audio: "That's what he was talking about" https://t.co/0xrtllD7rt— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) October 9, 2016
Here’s the exchange:
STEPHANOPOULOS: You say they’re embarrassing to watch, but the problem isn’t just the words. As both President Biden and Sen. McCain have pointed out, what Trump is describing in that tape is sexual assault.
GIULIANI: That’s what he’s talking about. Whether it happened or not, I don’t know. How much exaggeration was involved, I don’t know.
The conversation moved on from there. But while Giuliani claims he doesn’t know if Trump has actually committed sexual assault, there are credible allegations from at least three women to that effect. Below is a video of one of the alleged victims, Jill Harth, who says Trump cornered her and pushed her up against a wall without her consent:
Giuliani’s break with Trump’s stated line is also worth highlighting because the former New York City mayor has more or less perfected the art of defending Donald Trump in the face of any and all evidence against him.
When The New York Times revealed that Trump may not have paid federal income taxes for more than a decade, Giuliani said (erroneously) that Trump had a fiduciary "obligation" to do so. When Trump talked about raiding Middle Eastern countries for oil, Giuliani said that "anything is legal" in war. (It isn’t.) When Trump said "Second Amendment people" may have to stop Hillary Clinton from becoming president, Giuliani denied that it amounted to a dangerous incitement to violence.
But as with dozens of other Republicans, Trump’s leaked audio about women was a bridge too far for Giuliani.
"I’m not in any way trying to excuse or condone it. There is no excuse for it other than, ‘I’m really sorry, there is no excuse for that, and I’m not like that anymore,’" Giuliani said.