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Trump Faces Backlash After He Was Heard On Tape Making Vulgar Remarks About Women

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The political week ends with three minutes of a recording of a conversation between Donald Trump and Billy Bush. It was 2005, and the two men spoke about women in vulgar, predatory terms that are not family friendly. Here's Donald Trump, an expletive bleeped, speaking about Bush's co-host on "Access Hollywood," Nancy O'Dell.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: I moved on here, and I failed. I'll admit it.

BILLY BUSH: Whoa.

TRUMP: I did try and [expletive] her. She was married.

SIMON: Washington Post released that video. NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson joins us. Morning, Mara.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Good morning, Scott.

SIMON: Trump released a short video statement last night, which seemed to be - apologize on one hand and taunt Bill Clinton on the other. How are they dealing with this in Trump Tower?

LIASSON: They're frozen, I am told, and very concerned about it. The video said, I said it. I was wrong. I apologized. And then, as you said, he pivoted right to saying that Bill Clinton abused women, and Hillary Clinton intimidated his accusers. They're really worried that - in Trump Tower - that there might be more moments like this to be released.

SIMON: The Clinton campaign condemned the remarks, of course, but mostly seemed content to let Trump twist inside of his own tape. Now, I don't compare these two events, but the Clinton campaign has not confirmed if this material released by WikiLeaks is authentic.

LIASSON: No, she has her own leak problem. This isn't a hot mic. These were hacked emails from John Podesta, the chairman of her campaign. And they contain alleged excerpts of her speeches to Wall Street where she talks about how she's for free trade, open borders, and she seems somewhat sympathetic to Wall Street. This could be damaging for her with Sanders supporters, with young voters. And this came on the same day that the administration formally accused Russian security agencies of authorizing hacks of Democratic Party officials in order to influence the U.S. elections. So now we have this question - who gets the October surprise prize - one candidate boasting about sexual assault, the other one cozying up to Wall Street?

SIMON: How worried are Republicans that the Trump tape could affect their candidates up and down the ballot?

LIASSON: Very worried. We have a range of responses from Republicans. A couple House candidates, Barbara Comstock and Mike Coffman, said that Trump should drop out. Much more widespread are condemnations that stopped short of un-endorsing him. Ryan - Paul Ryan said he was sickened by the tapes, but he's still supporting Trump. Kelly Ayotte, who recently said Trump was absolutely a role model, then tried to walk that back, condemned these but is still supporting him. I think the person who spoke most clearly for most Republicans was John McCain, who said Trump alone should bear the - should suffer the consequences for this.

SIMON: And Trump's promise to feature this in tomorrow's debate - I'll put it this bluntly - as a man who's been captured on tape boasting about adultery, forcing himself on women and grabbing them in the most invasive way, really prepared to open this topic.

LIASSON: We don't know. He said in that video, we will be discussing this more in the coming days. Well, tomorrow's debate, that's the first opportunity he'll have to discuss this more. And as I said before, we don't know what will come out between now and then. NBC has 14 years of "The Apprentice" archives.

SIMON: Yeah.

LIASSON: And there might be more hot mic moments in those archives just like this one.

SIMON: NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson, thanks so much.

LIASSON: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.