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The Trump Tapes refers to a video recording of Donald Trump having a vulgar conversation about seducing and groping women with the host of Access Hollywood Billy Bush that was caught on hot microphone in 2005 and later published by The Washington Post in early October 2016 Upon the release of of the recording, the Republican presidential candidate immediately came under criticism from the news media and social media alike, due to the lewd and sexist nature of his comments.
On September 16th, 2005, Donald Trump made a series of vulgar remarks about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women while sharing a bus ride with Billy Bush, the host of Access Hollywood, to the set of The Days of Our Lives to tape his cameo appearance on the popular daytime soap opera. At 12:44 p.m. on October 7th, 2016, two days before the second round of the United States presidential debate, the Washington Post published a three-minute recording of the conversation apparently captured by a hot microphone.
"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. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping. She wanted to get some furniture. I said, 'I'll show you where they have some nice furniture.' I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn't get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she's now got the big phony tits and everything. She's totally changed her look."
"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 them by the pussy. You can do anything."
Online, the Washington Post article immediately went viral and sparked a flood of overwhelmingly negative reaction under the hashtag #TrumpTapes, with many mocking some of the most vulgar remarks attributed to Trump, including many actresses and celebrities like Cher, Lena Dunham, Ashley Judd, Robert De Niro (shown below), Jenny Slate and Aisha Tyler, as well as an offshoot discussion on workplace harassment experiences on Twitter.
On October 8th, Mike Dean, a hip hop producer who has worked on tracks with Kanye West and Big Sean, released a remix track sampling Trump's "grab them by the pussy" soundbite on his Soundcloud page.
News Media Coverage
Throughout the day, Donald Trump's Access Hollywood tape became the top trending story on virtually all major social media platforms and online news outlets. By the evening of October 7th, the Washington Post article had become "the most concurrently viewed article in the history of [its] website." One of the most notable moments from the breaking coverage of the Trump Tapes from a splitscreen discussion among CNN political commentators, during which Ana Navarro and Scottie Nell Hughes repeatedly used the word "pussy" in a heated exchange.
At 4:55 p.m. (EST), Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton issued a response rebuking Trump's remarks as "horrific" along with a link to the original article, while her running mate Tim Kaine similarly condemned Donald Trump's remark during an interview in the afternoon.
Meanwhile, Trump's campaign released a brief statement on the presidential candidate's official website (shown below), in which Trump accused Bill Clinton of saying far worse things and apologized for offending anyone. On the early morning of October 8th, Trump tweeted a longer video statement in which he opened by apologizing for his description of women and pledging to be a better man, though he ended his statement with allegation that former President Bill Clinton had "abused women" and that Hillary Clinton had bullied her husband's victims.
Here is my statement. pic.twitter.com/WAZiGoQqMQ
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2016
On October 8th, several current and former members of the Republican leadership denounced Trump's statements as vulgar and inexcusable, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as well as Trump's running mate Mike Pence. In addition, dozens of other Republicans rescinded their prior endorsement of Donald Trump, most notably the 2008 presidential nominee John McCain, as well as Governor of Alabama Robert J. Bentley, U.S. Senators Kelly Ayotte, Mike Crapo and U.S. Representatives Bradley Byrne, Jason Chaffetz and Joe Heck, while a smaller faction calling for his withdrawal from the campaign.
Additional Harassment Allegations
On October 13th, the New York Times published an article titled "Two Women Say Donald Trump Touched Them Inappropriately," which accused Trump of previously unknown sexual misconducts, citing detailed accounts from at least two women, Jessica Leads and Rachel Crooks, both of whom alleged Trump of making unwanted sexual advances between the 1980s and 1990s. In response, Trump's campaign released a statement (shown below, left) dismissing the findings of the Times article as "fiction" and having "no merit or veracity," while his attorneys demanded a retraction of the Times article and an apology from the news publication for publishing a "libelous article." Later that day, the New York Times assistant general counsel David McCraw responded to the libel claims made by Trump's legal team with an open letter (shown below, right), in which he flat out declined the demand for retraction by asserting that Trump's reputation is damaged and "could not be further affected" due to his own statements, rather than the New York Times article.
In the following days, several former participants of Miss USA and Miss Teen USA publicly alleged that Trump walked into the dressing rooms in various stages of undress, a habitual misconduct that Trump himself had admitted during a 2005 interview on The Howard Stern Show.
On October 14th, Page Six reported that NBC, who had fired Bush after the leak of the tape, was going to pay him a $10 million severance package. The following day, Twitter user @DuncanIdunno responded to a @pattymo tweet expressing disgust at the news by suggesting Bush was going to donate the entire severance to women's charities.
@pattymo then tweeted an idea that if Twitter posted as though Bush had announced he would give the money to women's charities, news organizations would pick it up as real news. Shortly after, he began tweeting the rumor that Bush would be donating his severance package to women's charities with the hashtag #ThanksBilly.
People in and outside Weird Twitter who were in on the joke began tweeting their faux-sincere gratitude to Bush. Within a half hour, #ThanksBilly was trending on Twitter, as people began to think the rumor was actually true. The spread of the hashtag was covered by The Daily Dot, Vulture, Complex, and more.
$1 Million Bounty for Trump Tapes
On October 17th, Los Angeles Times reported that Larry Flynt, the publisher of adult magazine Hustler and longtime Democrat supporter, has offered to pay up to $1 million for video or audio recordings of Donald Trump "engaged in illegal behavior or acting in a sexually demeaning manner toward women."
 Washington Post – Trump recorded having extremely lewd conversation about women in 2005
 New York Times – Donald Trump Apology Caps Day of Outrage Over Lewd Tape
 New York Times – Lewd Donald Trump Tape Is a Breaking Point for Many in the G.O.P.
 Washington Post – Three dozen Republicans have now called for Donald Trump to drop out
 New York Times – The New York Times’s Response to Donald Trump’s Retraction Letter