Donald Trump has found himself at the receiving end of some severe criticism, following the release of a 2005 recording in which the presidential candidate makes lewd comments against women. And the condemnation is being served out from all directions, including his own Republican Party.
In the tape, made available by Washington Post just days before the second presidential debate on 9 October, Trump is heard talking to Billy Bush of Access Hollywood on the set of daytime soap opera Days Of Our Lives. At one point, the NY billionaire mentions that he would like to kiss actress Arianne Zucker. "I've got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her," he is heard saying. "You know I'm automatically attracted to beautiful ... I just start kissing them."
In another part of the recording he boasts to Bush that his fame allows him to get women easily. "When you're a star, they let you do it... Grab them by the p***y. You can do anything."
The release of the recording has created another firestorm of controversy for the GOP candidate who was forced to issue a televised apology (of sorts). "This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago," he said in his statement. "Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course — not even close. I apologise if anyone was offended."
Not everyone is content with Trump's apology though, and politicians immediately expressed their disappointment in him and outrage over his insensitive comments. House Speaker Paul Ryan cancelled a campaign appearance with Trump (and scheduled one with VP candidate Mike Pence) while stating that he was "sickened" by what he heard.
"Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified," he said. "I hope Mr Trump treats this situation with the seriousness it deserves and works to demonstrate to the country that he has greater respect for women than this clip suggests."
A number of politicians also took to social media to comment on the 2005 tape, with a few of Trump's supporters continuing to defend him.