By Emily Stephenson and Steve Holland
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has expressed regret for making lewd comments about women.
Trump declared himself a changed man, but in making his own defense he raised the infidelities of former President Bill Clinton and slammed his Democratic opponent in the Nov. 8 election, Hillary Clinton, saying he would talk more about their past in coming days. Trump has dismissed questions about his own martial infidelities as irrelevant.
Disclosure of a 2005 video of Trump talking on an open microphone showed the then-reality TV star speaking openly about groping women and trying to seduce a married woman. The video was taped months after Trump married his third wife, Melania.
Trump took to Twitter on Saturday morning, posting on the online social media website “Certainly has been an interesting 24 hours!”
Democrats have sought to highlight such behavior in order to encourage women voters not to support Trump with less than a month to go until the Nov. 8 election, but Trump has a knack for being forgiven by American voters after being caught making colourful comments.
The video overshadowed the publication of excerpts of Clinton’s closed-door paid speeches that were made public on Friday by a hacker who claimed to have obtained them from the email account of John Podesta, the chairman of the Democrat’s campaign. In the speeches, Clinton advocates for more open borders and trade, a position she abandoned during the primary because it was politically untenable to Democratic progressives. Likewise, Trump has repeatedly criticized her for past support of free trade.
The video landed just ahead of the second presidential debate on Sunday night, which had been seen as critical for Trump to try to rebound from a dip in some opinion polls after a rocky performance in the first debate.
“This is nothing more than a distraction from the important issues we’re facing today,” he said, before turning to former President Bill Clinton’s infidelities.
“We will discuss this more in the coming days. See you at the debate on Sunday,” Trump said in his statement.
The bombshell development rocked Trump’s campaign to its core and some Republican lawmakers disavowed him.