A clip of former President Donald Trump defending comments he made at the infamous access to hollywood The tape has gone viral on social media, garnering more than 4 million views.
Among the numerous legal battles he now faces, Trump is currently the subject of a civil defamation lawsuit brought by E. Jean Carroll, former elle columnist who has accused the former president of sexual assault. According to Carroll, Trump raped her in a locker room of a Bergdorf Goodman department store in New York City in late 1995 or early 1996, a claim he has denied on numerous occasions. She is currently suing Trump for defamation over his earlier claim that she lied about the meeting for personal gain.
Despite maintaining his innocence in the case, Trump did not appear in court for the trial and his legal team offered no defense. However, he did sit down for a taped deposition in October, during which he was asked to view and comment on the access to hollywood tape leaked ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The tape features behind-the-scenes audio of Trump during an appearance on the show in 2005, bragging to host Billy Bush about being able to grab women in inappropriate places because of his fame.
When the tape surfaced, Trump dismissed the comments as “locker room talk” that did not reflect his real character. However, the audio was used by many as proof of his alleged penchant for sexual assault.
In the recorded statement, the former president appeared to defend the comments he made as “largely true” though potentially “unfortunate.”
“Well, historically, that’s true with stars,” Trump said when asked if he had made the remarks on tape. “Well, if you look at the last million years, I guess that’s been largely true. Not always, but largely true. Unfortunately or fortunately.”
“And do you consider yourself a star?” asked one of the people who interviewed Trump for the statement.
“I think you can say that, yes,” he replied.
The clip of Trump’s statement began circulating on Twitter on Friday and, as of Saturday afternoon, has garnered significant attention. Two particular tweets with the video, one from the watchdog group Republican Accountability and another from journalist Aaron Rupar, have collectively been viewed around 4.1 million times.
Including Carroll’s claims, which originated in a 2019 article, at least 25 women have accused Trump of sexual assault, all of which he strenuously denied. One of the first claims came from his late ex-wife, Ivana Trump, who accused him of rape in 1990 during their divorce proceedings.
The former president is currently running for president again, which he announced last November, leading all other confirmed and likely Republican candidates by a wide margin in many polls.
news week reached out to Trump’s press team for comment.