Trump’s initial, typically off-the-cuff, dismissive non-apology-apology for the leaked tape of him talking exactly like the piggish narcissist he is was not sufficient to stem his latest self-made campaign crisis. Then he wrote:
“This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course – not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.”
CUT! I’m sorry, Don, that didn’t come off right….not sincere enough. Can we try it another way? Great!
So Trump got serious, and shot the video above. In case you, like me, got nauseous half-way through, this is what he said:
I’ve never said I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone that I’m not. I’ve said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more than a decade-old video are one of them. Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize. I’ve traveled the country talking about change for America, but my travels have also changed me. I’ve spent time with grieving mothers who’ve lost their children, laid-off workers whose jobs have gone to other countries, and people from all walks of life who just want a better future. I have gotten to know the great people of our country, and I’ve been humbled by the faith they’ve placed in me. I pledge to be a better man tomorrow and will never, ever let you down. Let’s be honest — we’re living in the real world. This is nothing more than a distraction from the important issues we’re facing today. We are losing our jobs, we’re less safe than we were eight years ago, and Washington is totally broken. Hillary Clinton and her kind have run our country into the ground. I’ve said some foolish things, but there’s a big difference between the words and actions of other people. 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.
Anyone, and I mean anyone, who sees the video or reads those words and concludes, “OK, he apologized. He’s still got my vote!” has proven my point made a week ago, here. Such an individual is too deficient in critical thinking skills to be anything but an impediment to democracy.
What’s the matter with the second apology? Let’s see..how about “Everything”?
1. It begins with a rationalization, in fact one that I hadn’t added to the list yet. Since Trump reasons only in rationalizations, not knowing what ethics are or believing they are worth learning about, it is appropriate that he have one named after him, as this one will be. “I never said I was perfect” is a sub-rationalization to #19. The Perfection Diversion: “Nobody’s Perfect!” or “Everybody makes mistakes!” with a clever twist. The theory of Donald’s Dodge is that as long as one never said he was above a particular kind of misconduct, he shouldn’t be judged as harshly for engaging in it. Like so much that Trumps says, this is both stupid and seductive to those who are sufficiently unethical themselves.
2. Trump is certainly right that he has never pretended to be someone he is not, and consequently, as I noted in the last post, those who profess to be gobsmacked by his misogyny now are either posturing or dumb as bricks. But being honest about oneself is a pretty wan virtue when the self one is always displaying is a disgusting one, as in Trump’s case.
3. Sure he regrets those words: they are causing him trouble. Did he regret those words for a nanosecond prior to yesterday? Of course not. Has he said essentially the same thing many times since? Sure; does anyone doubt it? Does he regret those words? No: they weren’t recorded.
4. “Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am.”
It’s Pazuzu! Trump was possessed! Don’t you just hate it when you talk for several minutes and it isn’t the real you talking? This is a leading nominee for the most dishonest statement of the year. First, I guarantee that anyone who knows Trump knows those words reflect with uncanny accuracy who he is. Second, Trump knows they reflect who he is. Third, he said in the previous sentence that “he has never pretended to be someone he is not.”
If so, what was he doing on the tape? He says now that he was talking like someone he wasn’t. Three distinct lies in just 12 words! I doubt that even Hillary can match that.
5. “I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize.”
Wait: wrong about what? Wrong about the fact that he can engage in assaultive conduct and women let him get away with it? Wrong to say it when it isn’t true? Wrong to say it because it is true? Wrong to say it with a microphone near? Wrong to use the words fuck, tits and pussy while saying it? Wrong to say it when he might be running for President some day? If we don’t know what he thinks is “wrong,” we don’t know what he is apologizing for.
I doubt he knows. He’s using the magic word “apology” to make it all go away.
6. “My travels have also changed me.”
“I’ve changed” is the classic fall-back of the philandering husband, the abusive spouse, the crooked politician and the con artist. Trump is 70. He hasn’t changed and isn’t going to change, but he thinks his supporters are so dumb they’ll believe him. (He must have changed fast, because he was attacking a former Miss USA just a week ago.)
7. “I have gotten to know the great people of our country, and I’ve been humbled by the faith they’ve placed in me.” Hey, Trump found a cure for narcissism: run for President! What canned baloney that one is. Narcissists are never “humbled.” It’s not a concept they are capable of grasping.
8. “I pledge to be a better man tomorrow…”
- “…I won’t be so stupid as to say stuff like that on tape again.”
- “…and then go right back to being the same jerk the day after that.”
- “…but not very much better.”
- “…which is what they call a low bar.'”
- “...just like I pledged to build a wall.”
9. “…and will never, ever let you down.”
The Trump Variation: “Fool you once, shame on you; Fool you 6, 349 times, hey, I won’t do it again, I promise.”
10. “Let’s be honest — we’re living in the real world.”
Translation: “Forget everything I just said. Every guy I know talks like that. People getting their panties in a bunch are just pussies and politically correct cry-babies.”
11. “This is nothing more than a distraction from the important issues we’re facing today. “
Translation: “Forget everything I just said. This is bullshit.”
12. “I’ve said some foolish things..”
Oh, is that all the uproar is about, because the comments were “foolish”? Your tax scheme is foolish. The wall nonsense is foolish. Saying you will deport 11 millions illegals is foolish. Not preparing for debates is foolish. Picking an army of ignorant, blabbering fools as your surrogates on TV is foolish.
The comments to Billy Bush, however, were rude, lewd, sexist and misogynist.
13. ” …but there’s a big difference between the words and actions of other people.”
Two more rationalizations: #2. Ethics Estoppel, or “They’re Just as Bad” and #22, The Comparative Virtue Excuse: “There are worse things.”
14. “Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims.”
You don’t point fingers and accuse others in a genuine apology, because nobody else is responsible for what you are apologizing for.
15. “We will discuss this more in the coming days. See you at the debate on Sunday.”
Translation: “I’m going to skewer that bitch!”
35 thoughts on “Donald Trump “When You’re A Star, They Let You Do It” Apology, Take Two!”
Amazing. He gets in a hole and just digs himself in deeper to get himself out. He’s Bill Clinton without the lawyer training. Maybe he should have married somebody like Hillary to cover for him instead of Melania.
1. Bill’s about five times smarter than Trump.
2. HE botched his handling of scandals.
3. Both however, have the same advantage. Their core supporters don’t care.
I heard a news commentator give the perfect analysis of that apology today, wish I had caught who it was.
“I’ve heard prisoner of war videos that sounded more sincere.”
Trump has no respect for prisoners of war. They got caught.
If you were for trump two days ago, what have you possibly learned that would change your mind? All the things he said publicly in the last year are okay but this 11 year old private conversation crosses the line?
Hmm…it was about a white woman this time? Other than that, I agree, it’s more of the same.
You found a way to inject race into this. Remarkable.
Married women. He was touching another bro’s property.
Was it a private conversation? He was wearing a mic, on a bus, doing an interview, bragging about his exploits in front of a bunch of people who he really wasn’t even friends with. I don’t think one can really have an expectation of privacy under those circumstances.
The conversation was properly logged, transcribed, and archived with Access Hollywood, where it was promptly forgotten about and gathered dust, until allegations about Trump’s sexual harassment shenanigans on the set of The Apprentice made the rounds, and the Access Hollywood people began digging through there own records. From there it was a race to who would break the story first. It turns out that someone from inside Access Hollywood sent the tapes to the Washington Post, while Access Hollywood was planning on breaking the story on Monday.
Just because he was stupid to talk like that with a mic on doesn’t mean he didn’t assume it was private, and that Bush didn’t as well. In effect we never know when we might be bugged or hacked; expectation of privacy is always a delusion.
Yes, it was a private conversation, And knowing that was Trump’s intent, there was no benign reason for Access Hollywood to keep the recording, except to embarrass Trump later.
Has anyone pointed that out?
It seems Access Hollywood kept every recording that they made. It was logged and transcribed, and apparently forgotten from there. There is probably a lot of b-roll out there with Trump.
It is should be very hard to argue an expectation of privacy when you have a microphone on, you are being interviewed, and you are talking in front of a camera crew, with the microphone on and the camera rolling. I guess some people will try though. Sigh.
They betrayed Trump’s legitimate trust, and sabotaged their own employee too. It’s like when a conference call ends, but one end keeps talking, thinking the other end has been disconnected. Should the side being treated to candid comments that they aren’t supposed to hear listen in, or tell the other side that they are being heard? It’s the same ethical principle. You don’t listen, you don’t tape the call, and you don’t save the tape for a possible hit.
I meant “brilliant” in response to Jack’s comment about no respect for prisoners of war. Damn thread syntax…
This guy has turned a United States presidential into reality television (one of my all time favorite oxymorons). He’ll probably put the Kardashians and Kanye West and Piers Morgan or Judge Judy in his cabinet and televise cabinet meetings.
Might it be in the reverse order?
Reality TV, and the cultural conditions that created it, has interjected itself into the presidential politics of the United States.
It is not possible to actively and consciously seduce a population with all the banal mindlessness that has become part and parcel of the culture and expect for it not to creep up to the higher orders as the seduction penetrates.
There is another aspect too. A vast mercantile system is constantly telling the people, and possibly especially directling itself to the lower orders or the lower common demominator, that they are very very relevant. What they think, hope, desire, lust for. Every motion across their brain cells is monitored so to be able to *provide* to them and make lots of money. It does not matter what the appetite is nor if it is ‘good’ or ‘bad’. ‘The Marketing of Evil’ by David Kupelian reveales the dynamic from a Christian perspective and yet seems to me quite accurate.
The maddening question is What is the source of the corruption? And once the country is more completely corrupted, what will occur? Will (or has) exceutive power transform into a dictatorial force? And has this essentially already happened?
What this man says (Yuri Bezmenov) about ‘ideological subversion’ makes good sense but there is no more an Agency of this sort who can be said to be behind these efforts.
‘Despite an abundance of information, not one is able to come to sensible conclusions’ about what is going on and how to cure it.
Trump is of course a troglodyte. But Jack, this is an ethics swamp – look at all the other arguments showing up.
The most obvious one is Billy Bush’s “It was a long time ago.” So, there’s a statute of limitations on unethical behavior? (Trump went him one worse, saying that was ten years ago – and look at what Clinton did 20 years ago!).
But there’s another meme that keeps showing up. For example, Mitch McConnell saying, “I have daughters, and I…” So, is what Trump said inoffensive if you only have sons and brothers?
Mike Pence says, “As a husband and a father” he was offended. So, my single childless son shouldn’t be offended?
Jeb Bush says, “As the grandfather of two girls…reprehensible…degrading…” Jeez, do you have to be a grandpa before you can be offended?
What about Paul Ryan, saying, “Women should be championed and revered.” As a friend of mine says, “Would that be like a Special Olympics athlete? Or the biblical Mary?”
In their own bizarre way, these conditional statements are as ethically suspect as Trump apologizing “if I offended anyone.”
The common logical construct is a leading clause which SOUNDS like it should have something to do with what follows. But really, does “I’m a grandfather, so what he said was reprehensible” make any more ethical sense than “I’m a vegetarian, so what he said was reprehensible.”
As someone might have said, “What difference does it make!?”
Comment of the Day, Charles! Terrific.
Great point Charles. i thought the same thing about Ryan’s comments about women being championed and revered. That’s its own kind of put down, although paternalistic in nature.
Well said. Revering as I do the memory of my late mother it is appalling that Donald Trump could become POTUS. I can only hope it is not too late for leaders such as Paul Ryan to ring the alarm bell. Google and the President’s personal security staff can perhaps compensate for many of this man’s many weaknesses. But an inability to appreciate apple pie should surely disqualify him from office.
Stunned and surprised a sight I thought was fundamentally grounded in advanced thinking is so utterly lost in such a meaningless exercise. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS BULLSHIT IS COVERING UP??? More Clinton corruption that implicates the White House in ANOTHER international arms deal gone bad, Russia insinuates war – with US – if we don’t back down in Syria and stop the absurd two-sided meddling we’ve been at for more than a decade, more evidence of Clinton leveraging the State Department to aid her own Foundation, more on Soros manipulation of the media, the election, and funding of BLM. There is so much that MATTERS going on in the world, how can all of you be so WRAPPED UP OVER AN IDIOTIC PIGGISH COMMENT???
Three blogs on this and nothing on things that really matter. Waste of space
Katherine, read the comments rules. I write what I choose to write about when I choose to write it. The fact that I choose one topic at a given time doesn’t express my priorities or the fact that I don’t think world hunger or human trafficking are bigger issues.
Do NOT criticize me on that basis. You are, of course, welcome to start your own blog and write about 2500 words a day about ethics on it for free, like I do.
I would argue it matters quite a bit. It goes to the character of the person running for leader of the free world. Sometimes, and it seems to me this is definitely one of them, character probably has a whole lot to do with who you want to see in office.
Very true, Charles, and unfortunately, equally applicable to the other major party’s candidate.
That’s why I left the comment deliberately party-neutral
Good for you.
i suspect most Democrats are wishing that Sanders, o’malley, or Webb was the nominee.
to the credit of some state Democratic party organizations, they held the line on ethical conduct in their own houses, even if the national party failed to do so. See e.g. Rod Blagojevic.
I know Bill did a lot worse. He started a process of ethical rot in the White House that continues today and is best known for getting hummers in the oval office. He wasn’t the first either, with JFK having affairs, FDR being wheeled to a gf, and Harding getting action in a White House closet. At least these earlier guys had the sense to keep it quiet, not boast openly about it, and not advocate not just frat boy attitudes, but criminal activity. I heard this kind of bluster and worse when I was high school age (one of my contemporaries boasted that he’d like to cut off a woman’s breast and suck on it). I haven’t heard anything like it since I was 22, and I haven’t openly or otherwise used a vulgar term for a woman’s genitals since I graduated college, not in conversation, not in joke, no way. Full disclosure, I find feminists tiresome at best, angering at worst, and I still think Hillary is a lying, conniving, power hungry grifter who will be a failure as president. That doesn’t mean I hold ALL women in contempt, nor do I see them as toys to be used and discarded. I’ve never been on so much as a first date, but I have worked with and known too many women (some good, some meh, and some pretty bad) to hold half the human race in the contempt Trump holds them.
In the end this isn’t really about tiresome sexual politics, or it shouldn’t be. This is about honor. The Republican party has held itself out for forty years as the party of honor, patriotism, and family values. Leaders like Reagan, both Bushes (the elder is sadly underrated), John McCain, Bob Dole, and so on have done their damnedest to live up to that. Others like Nixon have fallen short (in his case far short), and when they did, the party said enough is enough, you’re through. Trump never even came close. He just said what people wanted to hear. He said it despite the fact he had said just the opposite on the record many times in the past. He said it despite the fact his actions didn’t prove it out. He said it despite knowing full well he’d left a trail of damning quotes and actions over the course of forty years in the headlines.
What really sticks in my craw is that the party knew all this, and rather than saying no, this guy isn’t suited to be President, no, we won’t play with this stick of dynamite, no, he doesn’t reflect any of what we’re about, essentially sold their souls for a false promise of a victory that could never be. It’s going to be very hard to reclaim the mantle of being the party of honor and values after your standard bearer has shown that he was the valueless, honorless pig he was all along.
I spoke out against the nomination of this latter day Nero with no morals, this neo-Lopez who can’t process facts that don’t fit his worldview, this American Franco who promised honor but offered tyranny with the thinnest veneer of honor on it. Others did too. No one listened, or, more likely, the right people listened and heard, but were too afraid to act or thought they could control or co opt Trump to become one of their club.
This is where that line of thinking ends. No, Trump isn’t Hitler or an orangutan, or any of those other stupid and juvenile insults people think they are so witty to throw. What he is is unfit, and enough see that fact that he will never see the inside of the White House save as an invited guest.
I think this is comment of the day material. Jack?
I love the comment and everything about it. I just have to get through my aversion to the whole issue by now. It may take a few hours.