Turmoil reigns inside Trump Tower (Politico link): No candidate has entered a presidential debate so cloaked in disgrace or deeper in a hole than Donald Trump – and no candidate has ever been less prepared to face the most searing trial of his public life than the shaken Republican nominee.
The walls were already closing around Trump before the Friday release of a video showing him blithely describing, in lurid and demeaning language, his efforts to seduce a married woman and how he would kiss and grope women even if they didn’t want him to. Those walls have now fallen in on him – and what aides were describing last week as an opportunity to rebound is now being cast as one final shot at survival.
“It is a complete sh-t-show,” said one GOP operative who still backs Trump on Saturday – a day of mass defections by Republican women and down-ballot Senate and House candidates. “There’s one chance, one opportunity left – and that’s to get on bended knee and project the image of contrition… That’s not going to happen.”
A senior Trump aide described the mood of the campaign on Saturday evening as “very demoralized.”
The staggering events of the 72 hours leading up to Sunday’s showdown here with Hillary Clinton – capped off by an unprecedented exodus of at least two dozen high-profile GOP supporters – would have posed an overwhelming challenge to any debate-prep team. But Trump doesn’t really have such a team, not in the conventional sense. His rotating circle of advisers are confused about what to do and the candidate is unwilling or incapable of preparing a game plan, Republican officials and people close to the campaign told POLITICO.
More Trump tapes surface with crude sex remarks (The Washington Post link): Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, already under siege for vulgar comments about forcing women into sex, also had crude, sexually explicit conversations in a series of radio interviews over the past 23 years, even noting how “voluptuous” his daughter was.
On a new batch of recordings from Howard Stern’s radio shows aired Saturday by CNN, Trump said that he would “have no problem” having sex with 24-year-olds, that he “couldn’t care less” if he satisfies the women he sleeps with, that “it’s checkout time” once women reach the age of 35 and that he had engaged in three-way sex.
“Haven’t we all?” Trump told Stern on his SiriusXM satellite radio show in 2008. “Are we babies?”
Trump also described barging in on nude Miss Universe beauty pageant contestants in their dressing room, characterizing his visits as inspections by the contest’s owner.
In previously reported tapes of Stern programs from the 1990s through this decade, Trump bantered with the host of the popular radio raunchfest about whether he could have “nailed” Princess Diana, whether he would stay with his wife if she were disfigured in a car crash (“How do the breasts look?” Trump asked) and how often he had sex with his wife, Melania.'
Trump Called Pregnant Melania A ‘Monster’ And A ‘Blimp’ (Huffington Post link): Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump called his then-pregnant wife, Melania Trump, a “monster” during an appearance on Howard Stern’s radio show in 2005.
He also described his wife as a “blimp” during the interview, which apparently took place just months after Trump had made lewd comments about groping women and pursing a married woman. He had married Melania, his third wife, earlier that year.
“You know, they just blow up, right?” Trump said of his pregnant wife in December 2005, according to a report by SF Gate.
“Like a blimp — in the right places. In her case, the right places. I mean she really has become a monster — in all the right places,” Trump told Stern. “I mean monster in the most positive way. She has gotten very, very large — in all the right places.”
Former GOP Chairman: It's Over for Trump and the Party (Mother Jones link): In the middle of the political storm detonated by the release of the video showing Donald Trump bragging that he engaged in sexual assault, Republicans have been in chaos.
Some have abandoned their party's nominee, some have stayed silent, some have tried to concoct a plan (probably unworkable) to dump Trump. And Trump weighed in—via a tweet, of course—to proclaim his defiance: "The media and establishment want me out of the race so badly - I WILL NEVER DROP OUT OF THE RACE, WILL NEVER LET MY SUPPORTERS DOWN!"
Trump's declaration aside, the question of the day is: Is it over for the reality TV celebrity? Has he unintentionally fired himself?
Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican Party, believes it is. On Saturday afternoon, I asked him for his reaction to the Trumpocalypse under way. He cut to the chase:
"This is a devastating blow to the Trump campaign and to the party, and there is not much either can do to salvage it. It almost doesn't matter what Trump does in the next debate."
A former GOP chief says the elephant is cooked. As another former GOP official tells me, "This is no longer about what happens on Election Day. It's about what happens in 20 years—and whether there is still a Republican Party then."
Trump donors angry, want their money back after lewd tape leak (CBS News link): Donors to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign have become skittish -- with some downright angry -- after a 2005 tape surfaced Friday in which the GOP nominee can be heard making vulgar remarks about women.
A prominent Trump bundler told CBS News that he “could not tell you how many” calls he’s gotten from donors in the course of the last day. After the Washington Post first published the tape, people want their money back, he said. (The Republican party and the campaign’s fundraising apparatus is not returning donations.)
According to the bundler, donors said they feel betrayed by Trump -- that their efforts have been a waste. Some said they would like to see Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate and the governor of Indiana, at the top of the ticket, though the means of achieving such a switch aren’t clear.
Other Republicans have expressed disgust and outrage over the previously unaired “Access Hollywood” footage from 2005, where Trump boasts about his sexual advances, saying that he can “grab [women] by the p****,” and that when you’re a star “you can do anything.”
Trump Supporters Heckle Elected GOPers: ‘You Turned Your Back On Us!’ (Talking Points Memo link): Some voters greeted prominent Republicans with boos and loud heckling at Saturday events, after the officials spoke out against the vulgar and predatory remarks Donald Trump made about women in a newly unearthed recording.
“Paul Ryan sucks!” Milwaukee resident Paul Anderson yelled at a fall festival in Elkorn, Wisconsin, where the House speaker addressed a crowd, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“You turned your back on us,” other hecklers shouted, breaking into chants of “We want Trump!”
Trump was originally supposed to appear with Ryan at the event. But Ryan disinvited Trump hours after the recording surfaced, releasing a statement saying he was “sickened” by the GOP nominee's remarks. The joint appearance would have been Ryan's first campaign event with Trump.
In Las Vegas, Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV), who's running to replace Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), also was booed loudly as he read a statement calling for Trump to withdraw and be replaced by a candidate “with honor” who deserved to be president.
‘I Assure You … There Are Far Worse’ Than the #TrumpTapes: Former Apprentice Producer Speaks (Mediaite link): Here is an ominous tweet we will just let you look at for a minute:
Here is validation that yeah, Bill Pruitt was a producer for The Apprentice:
His tweet answers a question that has been looming since audio of a very lewd 2005 conversation between Donald Trump and Billy Bush leaked yesterday: Is there more where this came from?
A few days ago, the AP released a report about how sexist Trump was on the Apprentice set and the GOP nominee himself has reportedly been worried that other, more damning audio or video will emerge, but Pruitt’s tweet seems to signal that it’s inevitable.
If it’s true that yesterday’s leak was #justthebeginning, it shouldn’t be long now before the “far worse” records emerge.
Mod: Well, there you go. As they say about October Surprises, you always save the best for last. Apparently the fun has only just begun.