This is the moment Trump changed American politics

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To be elected president shortly after Survive from The release of the leaked “Access Hollywood” tape in 2016 is the moment Donald Trump defied political gravity.

One politician was heard on tape saying truly disgusting things about women, yet was elevated by voters to the highest office. Trump’s ability to survive that embarrassing episode resonates in his rise to power The Republican Party ran for president for the third time, despite losing the 2020 election and then trying to overturn the results.

It’s easy to forget how amazing it was to hear Trump on that tape for the first time, and how many Republicans who called for him to drop out of the presidential race at the time now support him.

If the tape is awkward Somehow It represents Trump’s greatest victory, and it’s also something that still haunts him, as it became the focus of his hush money criminal trial in New York on Friday.

RELATED: Read more about the testimony of former Trump aide Hope Hicks.

Trump’s 2016 Electoral College victory seems less likely in the retelling. Hicks, his former close aidetold jurors what must have been an incredibly embarrassing moment when she read a copy of the “Access Hollywood” tape – in which he brags about his ability to grope women – to her boss.

“This was a crisis,” she said of the impact its release had on the campaign. It’s dirty stuff, and the broad strokes were generally known even without Hicks’ testimony on Friday. Judge in the case Verdict at the beginning of the trial That tape itself couldn’t be played in court, but it was described.

It’s worth revisiting the earthquake that the “Access Hollywood” video caused in the 2016 campaign. When the video came out, it left many people speechless.

The tape was recorded in 2005 and leaked to The Washington Post, which published the video on October 7, 2016, a little more than a month before Election Day. Trump was heard talking about trying, unsuccessfully, to “move on” with an unnamed married woman, then talking brazenly about his uncontrollable desire to kiss an actress he was about to meet with then-“Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush.

“When you’re a star, they let you do it,” he told Bush. “You can do anything. Grab it by the p****.

Here’s a video posted by CNN at the time:

Many Republicans who are completely behind today Trump, like Senator Mike Lee of Utah, in 2016 called on him to step down immediately. The perception within Trump’s inner circle was that most Republican lawmakers wanted him off the list, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said. He later wrote in his memoirs.

Then-House Speaker Paul Ryan said he “got sick.” Then-Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus believed Trump should either resign or lose in a landslide, according to Christie and then-Trump aide Steve Bannon.

Even Trump’s wife, Melania, who rarely makes public statements, expressed her disgust at the words in the tape, although she did so later. Write it as “boy talk.”

Things were so bleak at the time that Trump issued what may be the only apology of his political career in a live-to-camera video posted on Twitter, now X, in which he admits the tape is real and takes responsibility.

“I said it. I was wrong. I apologize,” Trump said, though he made clear he would not be leaving the race. Trump said his exposure to people on the campaign trail had changed him, before attempting to draw a parallel between his words and the allegations against former President Bill Clinton.

I’ve written about it before How rare It’s a thrill to hear something like that from Trump.

Trump’s Democratic rival in the 2016 elections, Hillary Clinton, faced unwanted surprises of her own, the most important of which was former FBI Director James Comey’s announcement last July that she had been “negligent” in handling confidential email data.

Worse still for Clinton, on October 28 of that year, just over a week before Election Day, Comey He told Congress The FBI was reviewing emails related to Clinton’s personal butler who were found on the laptop of Anthony Weiner, the disgraced former congressman who is married to one of her top aides.

Clinton will continue to receive the votes of more people, But Trump, surprising even himself, will get the White House.

And now the Access Hollywood tape is back. One of the main reasons for the plaintiffs’ case against Trump is their allegation that he and his former aide Michael Cohen agreed to pay money to porn star Stormy Daniels to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Trump has had to water down any allegations of wrongdoing, such as having an alleged affair with a porn star while his wife was pregnant. This led to the hush money Cohen paid Daniels.

Cohen served time in federal prison for violating campaign finance law with the payments. The crime Trump is accused of is falsifying business records related to his compensation Cohen after the election

Trump has since wondered whether his voices on the tape were Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin Reported for The New York Times in 2017. More recently, Trump was asked in May 2023 about CNN’s Kaitlan Collins tape. He tried to analyze the words on the tape.

“I said, ‘Women let you,'” he told Collins. “I didn’t say ‘catch,’” he said, misquoting the tape.

01:19- Source: CNN

He asked Trump if he stood by the comments in the Access Hollywood tape. Listen to his response

Bannon later told former CBS journalist Charlie Rose that the “Access Hollywood” moment was important because it divided Republicans into those who would be loyal to Trump versus those who were part of the mainstream. Bannon told Rose that Christie lost a Cabinet position in the Trump administration because of his disgust with the tape.

In the years since, loyalty to Trump has become an increasingly important brand among Republicans, as Trump has beaten a large field of rivals in the presidential primaries.

Perceived loyalty to Trump could become a de facto requirement for many federal employees if he wins in 2024 and pursues a plan to reclassify much of the federal bureaucracy as political appointees, according to a recent report from the center. CNN investigative team.

If the tape is evidence of Trump’s ability to defy political gravity, it also contributed to his humiliation in other areas.

A statement in which he was asked about the tape was played to jurors who later found him responsible for the sexual assault of E. Gene Carroll, a former magazine columnist, in a New York department store in the 1990s. The jury ordered Trump to pay more than $80 million for defaming her, although he appealed those decisions.

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