The nation is reeling from the release of a recording that contains audio of Donald Trump making disgusting remarks about women while en route to an interview with Access Hollywood in 2005. This isn't just your garden variety Trump scandal: the GOP presidential nominee bragged about forcing himself on married women and even assaulting them.
"You know I'm automatically attracted to beautiful [women]—I just start kissing them," Trump told Access Hollywood's Billy Bush, according to an audio tape leaked to The Washington Post on Friday. "It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything."
Emphasis mine, because, well, you can't do that. Grabbing an unsuspecting and unwilling person's genitals is a criminal act of sexual assault under any definition of sexual assault. Trump is evidently proud of the fact that he wielded his wealth and star power as a weapon to help him abuse women—to kiss and grope them without their permission. This is violence, full stop.
Some people might be tempted to write off Trump's comments to Bush as empty boasts. They would be utter fools to do so. The New York Times, in fact, has just run an interview with a woman who says she was given the Trump treatment by the reality TV star. This is not an isolated incident: there is ample evidence that Trump has physically harmed women. And he has now admitted on tape that he feels license to mistreat them.
To be absolutely clear: there is nothing ambiguous about Trump's stated (and demonstrated) approach to women: it's battery, at a minimum.
Trump would be a dangerous enough human being if he were just a regular celebrity with a penchant for groping women. As it so happens, he might also become the next leader of the free world—a position he is manifestly unqualified to hold.
Some months ago, I described Trump as the least libertarian Republican presidential candidate in decades—in no small part because he displays zero respect for people's lives, rights, and property. His treatment of women is only the most obviously disturbing manifestation of the philosophy of brutishness and authoritarianism that characterizes his entire worldview.
No man whose overriding ideology is that he gets to do whatever he wants—to whomever he wants—should be president.