According to a new report from Politico, America could have faced a very different presidential election in 2016, and very nearly did, all because of the Access Hollywood tapes that surfaced on October 7 of that year in a Washington Post article that threatened to upset the entire campaign for Donald Trump.
The in-depth Politico piece describes the day the news came to Trump’s debate prep room on the 25th floor of Trump Tower. Accompanied by audio of the now-infamous tape, a memo from reporter David Farenthold requesting comment on the story before it went to press that afternoon floored each and every person in attendance.
One day if there’s ever a monument to Trump, it will almost assuredly be inscribed with his description of how he tried and failed to seduce television star Nancy O’Dell:
I moved on her and I failed. I’ll admit it. I did try and fuck her. She was married. And I moved on her very heavily. I moved on her like a bitch. But I couldn’t get there. And she was married.”
Or perhaps it will be graven with Trump’s admission that he regularly sexually assaulted women, made in advance of expecting to do the same to actress Arianne Zucker:
I’ve got to 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 ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”
The fallout from Trump’s past lewd remarks was instantaneous, although some clever PR hack came up with the phrase “locker room talk,” which the Trump campaign would use ad nauseum in the upcoming days.
But lest you think that Trump simply dodged his sordid past and moved on the in the campaign, as he seems to have done with every scandal that’s surfaced since then, understand: He was immediately rejected by then-House Speaker Paul Ryan, who disinvited him from a major campaign event. And although Reince Priebus, running Trump’s campaign at the time, attempted to field calls about it, it turns out that a number of them were with people who wanted Trump replaced at the top of the ticket.
In fact, over the following day and a half, Priebus took calls from the biggest Republicans in Washington, all basically saying the same thing: Replace Trump with Pence in the presidential contest.
For his part, Pence was legitimately concerned about whether or not he could even continue with the campaign, telling aides “Mother is not going to like this.”
But in the end, they all chose to ignore it as usual. We can’t help but imagine that the world would be like under a “President Mike Pence.”
Featured image via screen capture
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