Ruth Nemzoff wrote this article with Helen Berger, both are Resident Scholars at Brandeis Women's Studies Research Center
"It's only locker talk," said Trump in his (non) apology for the Hollywood Access audio, in which he bragged that he had committed sexual assaults on women. Because he is a renowned liar - a great liar - the best liar, it is possible that he was lying to Billy Bush about his behavior. Whether his statements were true or not, this is not the kind of locker room talk most of us want our sons, grandsons and nephews to emulate, nor do all athletes want to be tarred with his declaration that this is normal male banter. However, there is reason to doubt this was not all talk and no action. Prior to this tape surfacing, Alicia Machado, Miss Universe, accused Trump of bullying her by calling her, "Miss Piggy," an "eating machine" and "Miss housekeeper." This May, a New York Times article described how Trump objectified many female models. His behavior at the second debate, too, makes us question the innocence of his words. He was every woman's nightmare, a stalker. He lurked behind Hillary, always with his trademark scowling face. He used his full height and prodigious girth in an attempt to intimidate her.
Trump clearly knows how to use sex for exploitation. He paraded Bill's lovers to humiliate Hillary and, perhaps, to hide his own ignorance on policy and international affairs. Certainly he did not display leadership when he justified his actions by saying in essence. "All the other kids do it, so it's OK."
Hillary was not distracted; she continued to make her points. Appropriately the first question asked was, "How does the behavior in this campaign influence our children's behavior?" We are already seeing some answers and they are not good. Near Boston, Trump's hate speech may have given permission for young people to act. In Newton, Massachusetts, an upscale suburb, the confederate flag was unfurled outside a high school. In Medfield, Massachusetts, a swastika was displayed. Yes, prejudice predates Trump and his campaign, but he has opened the floodgates and made acceptable what was previously held in check. He has legitimized all types of hate speech.
Though Trump tried to unsettle HiIlary by highlighting her husband's affairs she did not stoop to his level and discuss his affairs nor his cheating on his first wife. She did not rise to the bait. She did not play the victim to her husband's adultery. She rose above it. Her composure contrasted with Trump's egregious threats to jail her. He is the ultimate bully. His statement should frighten us all. A man who threatens to put his rival in jail is a threat to the very core of democracy. Only dictators make such threats and follow through on them. Trump has told us that he is a sexual predator, and he has shown us that he is a bully by his words and body language. He stoops to any level to be "one of the boys;" when he is rattled, he lashes out. This is not a man we should trust as Commander-In-Chief.
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