Trump and Clinton are set to debate Sunday night
This St. Louis debate will be their second
WARNING: This story contains graphic language.
Rudy Giuliani defended Donald Trump’s crude remarks about women Sunday, telling CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” that “men at times talk like that.”
But the former New York City mayor also admitted that what Trump was describing in a 2005 video is sexual assault.
Hours before the second presidential debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton, Trump’s campaign tasked Giuliani with defending the GOP nominee amid a controversy that threatens to derail his candidacy and has thrown the Republican Party into chaos, with many of the party’s top officials now openly rejecting Trump and calling on him to drop out of the race.
Giuliani told Tapper that Trump is likely to apologize at the town hall-style presidential debate – yet is also likely to attack Hillary Clinton over her treatment of the women involved in Bill Clinton’s extramarital affairs.
Giuliani said Trump made “horrible remarks – they’re remarks you certainly don’t want to hear from anyone, much less a presidential candidate.”
“I think he made a full and complete apology for it. He probably is going to do it again tonight,” he said.
Tapper pressed Giuliani on Trump’s claim – in the video from a 2005 “Access Hollywood” interview published Friday by The Washington Post – that because he is a star, he could walk up to women and “grab them by the pussy,” asking who Trump did that to.
“First of all, I don’t know that he did it to anyone. This is talk, and gosh almighty, he who hasn’t sinned, throw the first stone here,” Giuliani said.
Tapper said: “I have never said that; I have never done that. I am happy to throw a stone. I have been in locker rooms. I have been a member of a fraternity. I have never heard any man, ever, brag about being able to maul women because they get away with it – never.”
Giuliani responded: “We’ve taken it to an extra degree of what he said. But the fact is that men at times talk like that. Not all men, but men do. He was wrong for doing it. I am not justifying it. I believe it’s wrong. I know he believes it’s wrong. I believe this is not the man we’re talking about today.”
In a separate interview on ABC’s “This Week,” host George Stephanopoulos told Giuliani that what Trump was describing in the video is sexual assault – which Giuliani didn’t dispute.
“That’s what he’s talking about. You know, whether it happened or not, I don’t know, and how much exaggeration was involved in that, I don’t know,” Giuliani said. “I do know there’s a tendency on the part of some men at different times to exaggerate things like this, and I’m not in any way trying to excuse it or condone it. There is no excuse or answer for it other than, ‘I’m very sorry and I wish I hadn’t done it. And I’m not like that anymore.’”
The former New York City mayor also insisted that Trump’s apology in a video posted on Facebook in the early Saturday morning hours was sincere.
“It was an apology. He definitely apologized, and I know from talking to him that he genuinely feels very sorry about this, and it’s certainly not the views he holds today,” Giuliani told Tapper.
“He’s run for public office. He spent the last year and a half traveling around the country. He realizes the responsibility he has to the people that follow him and believe we have to make a change in this country,” he said. “I think that alone has put a heavier weight on his shoulders than he ever had even when he was an entertainment star, the star of ‘The Apprentice.’ It’s a different man that emerges when you campaign around the country for a year and a half and you hear the concerns of the American people.”
Still, in that Facebook video, Trump attacked Hillary Clinton over her treatment of the women involved in Bill Clinton’s extramarital affairs.
Giuliani previewed that line of attack in his interview with Tapper.
“Gosh almighty, there were an awful lot of things, particularly Hillary Clinton attacking the women that Bill Clinton sexually assaulted, sexually abused – and she was the leader of the attack against them – so maybe he felt that at least put in context the kind of anger there would be at him,” Giuliani said.
Bill Clinton has denied sexually assaulting any women and has never faced charges on any claims.
Giuliani also said Trump knows that 16 Republican senators on Saturday said they won’t support him for president – a round of defections that came after the “Access Hollywood” video surfaced.
He said Trump won’t exit the race, despite calls from some for him to do so less than a month from Election Day.
“Yes, he is aware of the fact that a number of Republicans pulled their support, and he is not going to drop out,” Giuliani said.
“He is going to remain. He is going to apologize for what he did. He is going to explain to people that that’s not who he is today,” he said. “And he’s going to count on the fact that the American people are fair and decent people, and when someone asks for forgiveness, they usually give it.”