Under intense questioning from CNN’s Anderson Cooper in the second presidential debate on October 9, Donald Trump categorically denied ever sexually assaulting women. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back for many of his accusers.
Since then, 11 women -- all white females -- have come forward accusing Trump of forcibly kissing them, fondling their breasts, grabbing their genitals, and forcing himself on them.
The accusations date back from the late 1970s to 2007. The accusers include a passenger on a plane, a contestant on The Apprentice, and contestants in the “Miss USA” and “Miss Teen USA” pageant.
The women told their stories to The New York Times, People magazine, The Palm Beach Post, The Washington Post, and CNN. Their vivid accusations read like sconces from a pornographic movie whose script Trump had written and narrated in the infamous Access Hollywood video/audio released by The Washington Post on October 7.
Trump denied the allegations, calling all his accusers liars. He claimed that the accusers acted in concert with the “Clinton Machine” and the media, reminding his supporters that Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim is a New York Times stockholder, with the innuendo that he influenced the Times’ coverage of the scandal. Trump did not explain why media outlets other a The Times also published the accusations of other accusers.
It is not unreasonable to dismiss the accusation of a solitary woman. However, when 11 women accuse Trump of doing exactly what he brags he does to women routinely in the Access Hollywood video/audio, it is hard to dismiss the allegations.
In a vintage Trump move, he body-shamed and look-shamed the accusers by telling his supporters that those women were not pretty enough to tempt him. His supporters roared their approval.
He further asked why his accusers waited three weeks before the election to tell their stories. Actually, that was the first question put to all the accusers, and they all answered it the same way: “It is not easy for a woman to confront her sexual assaulter, especially if he is as powerful as Trump. There is shame and guilt to contend with. Did I egg him on? Was it something I said? Was it how I dressed? Would anyone believe me? Could I handle the scorn, ridicule, and the hate mail that would be heaped on me by the assaulter and the gang of his supporters?”
All the women said that it was Trump’s blatant lie at the debate that emboldened them to come forward, regardless of the consequences. They could not let a sexual predator pass off as a saint.
It is nauseating to watch Trump’s women surrogates defend him to the hilt, even after repeated proof of his history of sexually assaulting women. While they are ready to fully believe the accusations of Bill Clinton’s four accusers, they are adamant that all 11 of Trump’s accusers are liars.
One of the many virtues that I admire in America is the emphasis on truth. Perjury is a serious crime in America. President Bill Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives (acquitted by the Senate) in 1998 for lying under oath.
Americans are reluctant to call someone a “liar.” Because, if you do, that is a conversation stopper. Notice that Hillary Clinton never calls Trump a liar. The furthest she goes is to accuse him of peddling in “falsehood.”
Trump has no such compunction. He routinely calls “crooked Hillary” a “liar.” In the last debate, he not only called Clinton a “liar,” but also a “devil.”
Trump called his primary opponents Carly Fiorina ‘ugly face,’ Jeb Bush ‘low energy,’ Ted Cruz ‘lying Ted,’ and Marco Rubio ‘little Marco.’ He accused debate moderator Meghan Kelly of menstruating. The Republican establishment remained silent
People have a tendency to project on their adversaries their own character flaws. As he has proven over and over again during his presidential campaign, lying is in Trump’s DNA. One of my sister’s patients in Long Island, NY recently told her: “Doctor, this man (Trump) looks like the anti-Christ!”
Why the silence from the Republican establishment?
Donald Trump launched his political career in 2011 with a huge lie -- that President Barack Obama was not born in the US, and therefore, his presidency is illegitimate. That gave rise to the “Birther” movement. Not a single Republican chastised him for it. He humiliated President Obama by forcing him to show his birth certificate.
Trump claimed then, as he does now, that Obama is a Muslim. No Republican expressed his/her outrage, nor concurred with President Obama’s assertion that he is a Christian.
Then Speaker of the House, John Boehner said tepidly: “I take him at his word.”
Trump launched his presidential campaign in June 2015, by calling illegal Mexican immigrants rapists, criminals, and drug dealers. The silence from the establishment Republicans was defeating.
Then Trump called for a total ban on Muslim immigration to the US. He continues to peddle the lie that he had opposed the 2003 Iraq war when audio of his supporting the war exists (on Howard Stern’s show). Trump believes in the old adage that a lie repeated a hundred times, sound like the truth. In the Orwellian world of Trump: “Lie is truth; truth is lie.”
Trump called his primary opponents Carly Fiorina “ugly face,” Jeb Bush “low energy,” Ted Cruz “lying Ted,” and Marco Rubio “little Marco.” He accused debate moderator Megyn Kelly of menstruating. The Republican establishment remained silent.
Trump correctly read the mood of the restless Republican base, fed them red meat, and riled them up. Instead of confronting Trump’s racism, xenophobia, and misogyny, they silently acquiesced. Is it any surprise that they have ended up with a monster as their nominee, a true Frankenstein?
Frankensteins do not win presidential elections, and the chances are that neither will Trump. Currently, according to Nate Silver, Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the election has improved to 85%.
But, Trump will not go down quietly. According to reports, he and his advisors have decided to adopt a scorched earth policy. They will attack Hillary Clinton savagely.
They will go “nuclear” on Bill Clinton for his extramarital affairs, making Bill Cosby look like a choir boy in comparison.
Their hope is to take their campaign to the gutter so that Clinton supporters are so disgusted that they will stay home, while the dedicated Trump supporters will race to the polls and elect him president.
Good luck with that strategy. Trump is like the Titanic. It is more likely that as he sinks, he will take the Republican Party down with him.
Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed is a Rhodes Scholar.