In an article about the parallels that President Trump sees between his own campaign and the beleaguered Roy Moore in Alabama, the New York Times nests this scraper: Trump has told at least two people that the "Access Hollywood" movie in which it was recorded that talking about women groping is, well, false news.
Here's the paragraph:
But something deeper has been consuming Mr. Trump. See the calls for Mr. Moore to step aside as a version of the response to the now-famous "Access Hollywood" movie, in which he boasted of grabbing women's bads, and the avalanche of accusations against He who followed shortly after. He suggested to a senator earlier this year that it was not authentic, and repeated that claim to an advisor more recently. (In the hours after its disclosure in October 2016, Mr. Trump acknowledged that the voice was his, and he apologized)
That parenthesis is huge here. Trump, after all, lived to apologize for practically nothing during his entire campaign. But the only thing he did clearly apologized and accepted the guilt was that 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape. While Trump is undoubtedly fond of conspiracy theories, even he was not willing to go there in this one month ahead of the 2016 election.
Instead of arguing that it was he who made the recording, Trump played down the idea that he had or would actually engage in the type of behaviors he described, specifically, grabbing women "by the p", kissing them without permission and chasing a married woman.
Trump tacitly acknowledged the authenticity of the tape immediately on October 7, 2016, although he accepted a warning "if someone was offended" and an attack by Bill Clinton to his apology:
This was a costume joke, a Private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said much worse for me on the golf course, not even close. I apologize if someone was offended.
Later that night, he issued a more complete apology through a video on Facebook (emphasis added):
I've never said I'm a perfect person, nor did I pretend to be someone I'm not. I have said and done things that I regret, and the words published today in this video from more than a decade ago are one of them . Anyone who knows me knows that these words do not reflect who I am. I said I was wrong, and I apologize. …
Let's be honest: we are living in the real world. This is nothing more than a distraction from the important problems we face today. We are losing our jobs, we are less secure than eight years ago and Washington is totally broken. Hillary Clinton and her clbad have driven our country into hiding. I have said some nonsense, but there is a big difference between the words and actions of other people . Bill Clinton has abused women, and Hillary has intimidated, attacked, embarrbaded and intimidated his victims. We will discuss this more in the coming days. See you in the Sunday debate.
In that debate, two days later, Trump was again pressed on the subject, and again responded to the authenticity of the tape:
It was conversation in the locker room, as I told you. That was the talk in the dressing room. I'm not proud of it . I am a person who has great respect for people, for my family, for the people of this country. And certainly, I'm not proud of that. But that was something that happened . …
I'm absolutely – I apologize for those words . But they are things that people say. But what President Clinton did, he was accused, he lost his license to practice law. He had to pay a fine of $ 850,000 to one of the women, Paula Jones, who is also here tonight. And I'll tell you that when Hillary raises a point like that and talks about words I said 11 years ago I think it's embarrbading, and I think she should be ashamed of herself, if she wants to know the truth.
So in those three sets of comments there are nine recognitions that was his voice on that tape. And yet, according to the Times, Trump has repeatedly suggested that this was not the case.
This is both surprising and completely surprising. There are a lot of imitators of Donald Trump, sure, but this would be an incredibly elaborate hoax. The most objectionable comments about the video take place while Trump and Billy Bush are out of sight, inside a bus, but then emerge from that bus in the uncut video.
The simplest explanation is that this is simply Trump that is never willing to give an inch. All the slights of the media have to be false news, and every perceived deficiency must have an alternative explanation. Trump was convinced to issue a rare apology on a large scale in this case, but he would still like to cast doubt on whether he really did something for which he was forced to apologize.
We'll have to see if Trump makes the same accusation publicly. If there is something that has shown us, it is that the implausibility of the claim does not serve as a real deterrent. This is a candidate and president, after all, who has argued that 3-5 million people voted illegally in the 2016 elections and that they only voted for Hillary Clinton. He also suggested that Ted Cruz's dad could have killed John F. Kennedy. He said that people were celebrating the streets of New Jersey on September 11.
Besides that, it would really make sense to call the "Access Hollywood" movie fake news.