That’s the gist of his and others’ justification for his cartoonishly misogynistic comments to Billy Bush. Just a bit of harmless locker room talk! But don’t let the vulgarity of his comments obscure one central revelation: He’s describing what sounds an awful lot like sexual assault. This is the transcript from the audio recording procured by The Washington Post:
“I’ve gotta use some tic tacs, just in case I start kissing her. You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful—I just start kissing them. 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.”
Trump, of course, has already been accused of sexual assault. Jill Hart sued him in 1997 for committing what she characterized as attempted rape. His former wife accused him of rape, before retracting the claim. And there are countless women who have described incidents that easily fall into the category of sexual harassment. Even if there was no victim in the raunchy anecdote unearthed by the Post, it’s obvious he cares little for the concept of consent.
So what does this mean for the election? Maybe this will finally be too much for evangelicals, who allegedly believe women are made in the image of God. Maybe Trump will become the first presidential candidate to get zero percent of the women’s vote. And maybe rank-and-file Republicans will finally bolt, worried Trump will inflict permanent damage to their party.
But most of Trump’s conservative backers care little for feminism. To them, “rape culture” is easily dismissed as political correctness. As his supporters remind us so often, he only says what they’ve already been thinking.