clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Donald Trump: I’m sorry for what I said about women, and let’s talk about Bill Clinton instead

Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

Just after midnight Saturday, Donald Trump did something he’d never done before: He sat down in front of a camera, acknowledged something he’d said was wrong, and apologized for it.

Then, of course, he dismissed it as a “distraction.”

“I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize,” Trump said of his infamous comments on a secret recording from 2005. “I pledge to be a better man tomorrow.”

In the 2005 recording, Trump described his approach to women: “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. You can do anything.”

In response, top Republicans said they were horrified, Paul Ryan uninvited Trump from a campaign event in Wisconsin, and at least one Republican House member, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, withdrew his support. So there were good political reasons for Trump to want to appear contrite.

But it didn’t last. After a few rote sentences about how his travels around the country and his meetings with “grieving mothers,” “laid-off workers,” and “people from all walks of life,” Trump immediately dismissed the whole disastrous episode — and suggested that he would use it as an excuse to bring up Bill Clinton’s past sexual misconduct.

“We’re living in the real world,” Trump said. “This is nothing more than a distraction from the important issues we’re facing today,” Trump said.

Then he went on to argue that Bill and Hillary Clinton are the real problem: “Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed, and intimidated his victims. We will discuss this more in the coming days. See you at the debate on Sunday.”

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.