President Barack Obama found the recently leaked video of Donald Trump recounting his treatment of women “repugnant” and the comments were tantamount to “sexual assault.”
That’s how Josh Earnest, his top spokesman, described Obama’s reaction to the Republican presidential nominee’s raunchy remarks made 11 years ago to talk show host Billy Bush over a live microphone.
“The president found the tape as repugnant as most Americans did,” Earnest, the White House press secretary, told reporters traveling with Obama in North Carolina.
“There has been a pretty clear statement by people all along the ideological spectrum that those statements constituted sexual assault,” Earnest said. “That’s why many people, I believe, have concluded that those statements are worthy of sharp condemnation.”
The reaction came several days after the 2005 “Access Hollywood” recording was disclosed in a Washington Post report. White House officials had declined Saturday to comment on the GOP standard-bearer’s comments about women.
Obama weighed in briefly during a Sunday fundraiser in Chicago.
“That tells you a couple things,” the president said. “It tells you that he is insecure enough that he pumps himself up by putting other people down. Not a character trait that I would advise for somebody in the Oval Office.”
On Saturday, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. bluntly labeled Trump's comments "sexual assault."
"The words are demeaning. Such behavior is an abuse of power," Biden wrote in a tweet. "It’s not lewd. It’s sexual assault."