Update, November 28, 2017 — On Nov. 27, the hosts of “Access Hollywood” made a special statement on the show, in response to the reports that President Trump questioned the tape’s validity. “Let us make this perfectly clear. The tape is very real,” said Natalie Morales, alongside Kit Hoover. “Remember his excuse at the time was ‘locker-room talk.’ He said every one of those words.” Also on Monday, actress Arianne Zucker, who appeared in the tape, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that she was nonplussed about Trump’s seemingly disavowed avowal. “I don’t know how else that could be fake unless someone’s planting words in your mouth,” said Zucker. “How do you apologize for something and renege on it? It’s puzzling to me.”
Original Story, November 27, 2017 — President Trump is now questioning the authenticity of the “Access Hollywood” tape, a year after acknowledging it was legitimate and making a video apology for his remarks on it, in which he bragged about grabbing women by their genitals.
The New York Times reports that’s part of the reasoning behind his staunch support of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been accused of pursuing and molesting underage girls four decades ago, despite Moore’s near-universal disavowal by Senate Republicans.
“He sees the calls for Mr. Moore to step aside as a version of the response to the now-famous ‘Access Hollywood’ tape, in which he boasted about grabbing women’s genitalia, and the flood of groping accusations against him that followed soon after,” says the Times. “He suggested to a senator earlier this year that it was not authentic, and repeated that claim to an adviser more recently.”
During the presidential campaign, several women accused Trump of sexual harassment. Weeks before election day, outtakes surfaced from a 2005 “Access Hollywood” interview in which the future president is heard boasting about his ability to grope women: “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the p***y. You can do anything.”
In a short video statement hours after the video surfaced, Trump said, “I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize.”
In a presidential debate two days later, on Oct. 9, co-moderator Anderson Cooper asked Trump about the tape, saying Trump “described kissing women without consent, grabbing their genitals. That is sexual assault. You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?”
“No, I didn’t say that at all,” Trump responded. “I don’t think you understood what was — this was locker room talk. I’m not proud of it. I apologize to my family. I apologize to the American people. Certainly I’m not proud of it. But this is locker room talk.”
Cooper asked again: “Are you saying that what you said on that bus 11 years ago that you did not actually kiss women without consent or grope women without consent?”
“I have great respect for women. Nobody has more respect for women than I do,” Trump replied.
“So, for the record, you’re saying you never did that?” Cooper said.
“I’ve said things that, frankly, you hear these things I said. And I was embarrassed by it. But I have tremendous respect for women,” Trump said.