Skip to main content
ABC News
Our Live Elections Podcast Reacts To Donald Trump’s Lewd Comments

Hours before our planned live podcast taping in Chicago on Friday, The Washington Post unearthed a 2005 tape of Donald Trump making lewd and sexist comments on the set of a soap opera. Our podcast crew reacted to the revelations in real time, discussing what the comments say about Donald Trump and what effect the recording may have on the race. Plus, we previewed the second presidential debate, on Sunday night, and how undecided voters will decide between Trump and Hillary Clinton over the coming month.

Join us Sunday night as we live blog the debate, and record a reaction podcast (with live video!) after it’s over.

We have one more live show, in New York City, on October 24th. Tickets are available here.

Below is a partial transcript of the conversation. It has been lightly edited for clarity.

Clare: Someone asked me “why is this more repugnant than any other thing he said.” And I guess it’s not on the sliding scale of racism, but I think there’s something about the personal [nature] of the violence that he’s using in his words… he’s talking about something that he would do to a woman.

Jody: I want to talk about the political fallout, but let’s attend to the awfulness of these comments first. Nate, does this feel like we should be saying “of course he’s this way, we’ve known this [about him]” or is this somehow at another level?

Nate: I mean, on the one hand I’m not surprised that Donald Trump said these things. But they are awful things to say. It’s repugnant. And a lot of things he’s said and done are repugnant. It’s pretty rare that you have one person who embodies so many of these repugnant characteristics. And that he’s one of the two major party nominees for president.

Harry: It’s not the language that he uses that I find so offensive, it’s the actions which he is describing. He is basically saying that it’s OK to sexually assault somebody. That’s not OK.

Also, although I may sound like it at times, I am not of Donald Trump’s age. But my father was. And my father, at times, I would say, was not a creepy old man, but a… sexy senior citizen. But I never once heard anything remotely close to these comments [from him]. Not once. And I think we’d be giving Trump a pass if we said that “men of a certain era” speak this way. If you’re a decent human being, it’s not something that you say.

Jody: And the fact that we have to say this at this point [in the election] is what’s baffling to me. So, to that point, [on the politics], Nate — where was all this stuff throughout the Republican primary?

Nate: This is one of the great mysteries. Obviously a lot of people, including us, were surprised that Trump had so much staying power. But it wasn’t like it happened all at once. He rose in the primaries in June and July [2015], you had reason to be skeptical until November or December… and this thing lasted until May. And it’s shocking how few real bombshells there were… that really dropped on him. It’s really hard to explain. But he’s a guy who hit .300 in AAA, and now he’s in the big leagues and he’s whiffing.

You can listen to the episode by clicking the “play” button above or by downloading it in Apple Podcasts, the ESPN App or your favorite podcast platform. If you are new to podcasts, learn how to listen.

The FiveThirtyEight Elections podcast publishes Monday evenings, with occasional special episodes throughout the week. Help new listeners discover the show by leaving us a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. Have a comment, question or suggestion for “good polling vs. bad polling”? Get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments.

Jody Avirgan hosts and produces podcasts for FiveThirtyEight.

Clare Malone is a former senior political writer for FiveThirtyEight.

Nate Silver founded and was the editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.

Harry Enten was a senior political writer and analyst for FiveThirtyEight.