As shocking and disturbing as they were, the “Trump tapes” of his lewd, crude conversation with Billy Bush of “Access Hollywood” appear to be the snowball at the start of the avalanche.
Already, reports have rolled in from former beauty queens, “The Apprentice” cast and crewmembers, and even a friend of CNN anchor Erin Burnett about Trump’s unwanted sexual advances, racist comments, and creepy peeping Tom behaviour.
On October 12, BuzzFeed reported that four women who had competed in the 1997 Miss Teen USA beauty pageant said Trump had walked into their dressing rooms while contestants were changing.
Some of the women had been as young as 15 at the time.
In a recent AP report, “Apprentice” cast and crewmembers said that Trump repeatedly made sexist comments on set, including discussing which female contestants he wanted to have sex with.
Season one “Apprentice” runner-up Kwame Jackson has accused Trump of being racist “at his core.”
And, in the wake of the “Access Hollywood” tapes, CNN anchor Erin Burnett recounted a story from a friend who said she met Trump in 2010 and he popped some Tic Tacs before leaning in to kiss her.
It is clear that there is more to learn about Donald Trump. And the information that is available is in the public interest, since Trump is competing to hold the highest public office in the land.
How do his private comments about women and minorities inform the policies he would implement as president? Would he actively discriminate against certain groups in his federal hiring policies? Even worse, has Trump committed the crime he so lewdly described — sexual assault — which would make him unfit to hold the office of the presidency?
News reports indicate that the owners of these tapes may be hesitant to release them due to contractual concerns. Trump should let the producers off the hook, do the responsible thing and ask Mark Burnett Productions and its parent company, MGM, to release the “Apprentice” tapes and transcripts in their possession.
(Full disclosure: I have offered to pay the $5 million “leak fee” that producer Chris Nee said in a tweet was a reason those tapes have not yet been released.)
This is about something more than Hollywood gossip. This is about the character of our next president, and the stakes could not be higher.
In the interest of American voters, Trump should pledge to the producers and studio managers, in writing, that he will not sue them for releasing the tapes. Understandably, many of them are likely hesitant to release these records out of fear of Trump retaliating with a defamation lawsuit.
(I don’t blame them; he’s sued people for less. That’s why I have offered to pay…)
But that’s also evidence that the tapes must be damning.
This is Trump’s chance to prove there’s nothing more damaging than the vile comments and behaviour he’s already demonstrated, based on the “Access Hollywood” tapes and the comments of former “Apprentice” cast and crew.
Only Trump can clear the air and dispel the dark cloud over his candidacy.
If you have access to relevant Donald Trump outtakes from “The Apprentice” you can submit material here.
(Editor’s note: Separately, if you have any tips, feel free to contact Business Insider here.)
David Brock is a widely published author and Democratic activist. In 2004, Brock founded Media Matters for America, the nation’s premiere progressive media watchdog group. Following the 2010 elections, Brock founded the Super PAC American Bridge, which does opposition research to help elect Democrats to office. Brock serves as chairman of both organisations.
Brock is the author of five political books, including his 2002 best-selling political memoir, “Blinded by the Right,” “The Republican Noise Machine,” and “The Fox Effect.” His writing has appeared in USA Today, the Huffington Post, the Daily Beast, and Salon.
This is an editorial. The opinions and conclusions expressed above are those of the author.
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