The chairman of the Republican National Committee released a statement Friday night, hours after The Washington Post posted an audio file with Donald J. Trump talking to Access Hollywood, speaking with direct language about his pursuit of a married woman and the advantages of being a celebrity.
Trump, who was wearing a live wireless mic as part of his segment on the program, is heard saying: “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p%ssy. You can do anything.”
One of the show’s hosts, Billy Bush, is also on the tape, which captured the two men bantering on a shuttle bus that took them to the set of the soap opera Days of Our Lives, on which Trump was making a cameo appearance.
Throughout the conversation, Bush is heard laughing along with Trump and joining in the conversation’s flow.
In addition to off-color language and subject matter, Trump describes to Bush his unsuccessful courtship of a married woman in Palm Beach, whom Trump took furniture shopping and to whom he dedicated time and attention but was unable to seduce. “I’ll failed. I admit it.”
The Trump campaign released its own statement attributed to the New York City developer: “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.”
For Priebus, the controversy comes on the eve of a personal triumph. After months of awkwardness, the RNC chairman, a native of Wisconsin, was going to witness the first time Trump would be joined on the campaign trail with the chairman’s fellow Badger Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R.-Wis.), along with Sen. Ron Johnson (R.-Wis.), who has also dealt with Trump from a distance.