Women are coming forward to accuse Donald Trump of sexual assaulting them in the ways he himself described in a leaked 2005 tape: “Just kiss. I don’t even wait. When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy.”
But as those allegations were first surfacing, another disturbing old recording came out — and this one featured Trump objectifying a young girl.
In the 1992 recording, a 46-year-old Trump asks a little girl if she’s going to go up an escalator. Then Trump turns to the camera and says, “I am going to be dating her in 10 years. Can you believe it?”
It’s clear from Trump’s words and actions that he relates to women mostly by objectifying them. If he doesn’t like a woman, he calls her ugly. If he does, he calls her beautiful, suggests he’d like to sleep with her, or says that he would date her.
But disturbingly, this objectifying tendency also seems to extend to young girls.
Trump never explicitly says that he finds young girls sexually attractive. But he’s used pretty plain language that talks about them as future objects of desire.
This isn’t the first time Trump has said something like this, as the examples below prove. And that’s troubling on a number of levels, said Dani Bostick, a counselor and advocate who specializes in child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, and trauma counseling.
Bostick feels Trump’s comments rise to the level of sexualizing children. “The kind of language he uses to describe children in sexual ways is very dangerous,” she said.
Bostick emphasized that she couldn’t speculate on whether Trump could actually be a pedophile, noting that “not all people who sexualize children are pedophiles, but all pedophiles sexualize children.” So when public figures talk this way about children, she said, it definitely enables people who are pedophiles. And that puts children at real risk of harm.
“Even if this language is just [Trump’s] way of joking around, an offender could listen to that and feel some sense of solace and comfort. And then minimize what he's doing by saying, ‘Oh, hey, look, this person in a position of power thinks this way. What I’m doing is okay and normal. Everybody talks this way; everybody thinks this way.’”
The Trump campaign did not respond to Vox’s request for comment.
Here are other examples of Trump’s troubling remarks about children or teenagers:
Trump also told a pair of 14-year-old girls that he’d be “dating” them in a few years
The Los Angeles Times unearthed this wire brief from the Chicago Tribune in December 1992, the same year the escalator video was taken.
After watching a youth choir sing carols, Trump asked two of the girls how old they were. When they said they were 14, Trump, who again was 46 at the time, said, “Wow! Just think — in a couple of years, I'll be dating you.”
Both of the above incidents, and many of the ones below, could be dismissed as jokes. But they’re incredibly creepy and inappropriate. And arguably a lot worse than that.
“I hate to even use the word ‘inappropriate,’” Bostick said. “It’s dangerous. Because even if he's not acting on it, there are people who act on those types of thoughts, and he's making that seem normal.”
Trump talked about his infant daughter’s legs, and her future breasts
Here’s Trump imagining what his daughter Tiffany’s breasts might look like when she grows up. Tiffany was 1 year old at the time.
When Trump was asked whether Tiffany looked more like him or Trump’s then-wife Marla Maples, he said Marla, and added that Tiffany was “a really beautiful baby.” But the first specific feature Trump mentioned wasn’t anything in her face — it was her legs.
“She’s got Marla’s legs. We don’t know whether or not she’s got this part yet,” Trump said, miming a pair of breasts over his own chest, “but time will tell.”
That’s an example of Trump’s “dehumanizing” tendencies, Bostick said — looking at both women and children as merely “an amalgam of body parts.”
“It’s not like a whole baby,” Bostick said. “Talking about his daughter’s legs, or how she’s going to have his wife's breasts.”
Trump on the “beautiful” 12-year-old Paris Hilton, and her later sex tape
In 2003, Trump told shock-jock radio host Howard Stern that when he met Paris Hilton when she was 12, he noticed that she was “beautiful”:
Now, somebody who a lot of people don’t give credit to but is in actuality very beautiful is Paris Hilton. I’ve known Paris Hilton from the time she’s 12, her parents are friends of mine, and the first time I saw her she walked into the room and I said, ‘Who the hell is that?’ At 12, I wasn’t interested … but she was beautiful.
It’s awkward enough that Trump said he “wasn’t interested,” because one would hope that goes without saying. But then he talked about watching the sex tape she made as an adult — even though he’d known her since she was 12 and was close friends with the Hilton family.
On the campaign trail, Trump called a little girl “beautiful” 7 times and tried to kiss her twice before she pulled away
This GIF from a Trump rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, started making the rounds Monday night:
Some called the moment “awkward” or made jokes about it. But writer and advocate Leah McElrath saw it differently, and argued that it looked like Trump was aiming for the girl’s mouth before she pulled away:
Politicians kiss babies. On the head, maybe the cheek.— (@leahmcelrath) October 18, 2016
You NEVER kiss another person's child on the mouth.
Just no. No. Not normal.
The full video shows Trump pointing to the girl in the crowd and calling her “beautiful” — a word he repeated six more times as she came onstage. It also shows that Trump went in for an additional kiss on the girl’s cheek right before the moment captured in the GIF.
Trump had another young child come onstage after the little girl left, and also kissed that child on the cheek.
Trump’s objectification of his daughter Ivanka apparently goes back to her teen years
Trump has said more than once that if his daughter Ivanka weren’t his daughter, he might be dating her. He’s made repeated comments on Ivanka’s physical and sexual appeal (Deadspin has a good rundown of those), and he didn’t bat an eye when Howard Stern called her a “piece of ass” on air.
But it looks like Trump’s apparent obsession with Ivanka has been going on since she was a teenager.
Here’s a disturbing anecdote from the New York Times about Trump calling Ivanka “hot” when she was 16:
Mr. Trump frequently sought assurances — at times from strangers — that the women in his life were beautiful. During the 1997 Miss Teen USA pageant, he sat in the audience as his teenage daughter, Ivanka, helped to host the event from onstage. He turned to Brook Antoinette Mahealani Lee, Miss Universe at the time, and asked for her opinion of his daughter’s body.
“‘Don’t you think my daughter’s hot? She’s hot, right?’” Ms. Lee recalled him saying. ‘I was like, ‘Really?’ That’s just weird. She was 16. That’s creepy.”
Trump said 17-year-old Ivanka made him promise not to date anyone younger than her
On The Howard Stern Show in 1999:
I have a deal with her. She’s just 17 and doing great, Ivanka. And she made me promise or swear to her that I would never date a girl younger than her. So, Howard, as she grows older, the field is getting very limited. To deal with, you know.
“The nerve of her,” Stern joked. “Now you can’t go out with 16-year-olds.”
Trump just laughed.
“In his mind, 21 is too old”
This anecdote from the New York Times could just be Trump trying to realistically, if callously, navigate the youth-obsessed modeling industry. But it’s still a bit troubling in the context of his other remarks.
Former Miss Utah Temple Taggart has said that Trump kissed her on the lips without consent, and that the incident disturbed her. She also said this:
Soon enough, [Taggart] said, [Trump] delivered another unwelcome kiss on her lips, this time in Trump Tower. After boasting of his connections to elite modeling agencies, he advised her to lie about her age to get ahead in the industry, she said.
“‘We’re going to have to tell them you’re 17,’” Ms. Taggart recalled him telling her, “because in his mind, 21 is too old. I was like, ‘No, we’re not going to do that.’”
Trump allegedly walked into the Miss Teen USA dressing room. Yes, Teen.
“I remember putting on my dress really quick because I was like, ‘Oh my god, there’s a man in here,’” said Mariah Billado, the former Miss Vermont Teen USA.
Trump, she recalled, said something like, “Don’t worry, ladies, I’ve seen it all before.”
The Trump campaign didn’t respond to BuzzFeed’s request for comment, but Trump did once publicly brag on The Howard Stern Show about walking into the dressing room of adult contestants to check them out.
“And you see these incredible-looking women, and so I sort of get away with things like that,” Trump said.
Trump has been accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl, although the case is sketchy
Trump is facing a lawsuit for allegedly raping a 13-year-old girl at the house of Jeffrey Epstein, who was convicted in 2008 of soliciting sex from an underage prostitute and has been accused of having sex with dozens of underage girls.
Here’s what Trump said once about Epstein and their respective tastes in women:
I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.
As Vox’s Libby Nelson explains, the lawsuit against Trump is very fishy:
To sum up: The allegations against Trump are from an anonymous plaintiff who refuses to give interviews or to speak to a district attorney, represented by a public spokesman with a false name and a history of making up inflammatory stories about celebrities. The rumors were promoted to the media by a conservative anti-Trump gadfly who, just a year ago, used another evidence-free rumor to accomplish his political goals.
Trump has denied the charges, although he’s still going to have to answer them.
Trump’s comments about children and teens align with what we already know about him
Trump’s public comments have already revealed that he uses many of the same tactics that emotionally abusive perpetrators of domestic violence do.
Many of these tactics are designed to dehumanize a victim and minimize a perpetrator’s own behavior. Bostick said these are common behaviors among sex offenders in general, who also frequently have entitled attitudes about sex and rape.
Trump’s “grab ’em by the pussy” comments certainly revealed an entitled attitude about sex, and arguably an outright endorsement of sexual assault. The comments also came across as extremely dehumanizing to women. And that was far from the only time Trump has said sexually entitled or dehumanizing things about women.
His comments about young girls show similar tendencies. He expresses sexual entitlement — he’s going to be dating them in 10 years, whether or not they have anything to say about it. He makes most of these comments in a joking tone, which minimizes their inappropriateness. And he dehumanizes young girls by reducing them to body parts and future sex objects.
If all of the sexual assault allegations against Trump are true, he is a sexual predator. And, Bostick said, his comments about children and teens aren’t just inappropriate and unsettling — they could also enable other predators.