First lady Michelle Obama is right.
Donald Trump should not get away with bragging about sexually assaulting women.
On Thursday, the first lady gave an impassioned denunciation of Trump, calling the recently surfaced comments by the Republican presidential nominee “shocking” and “demeaning,” and below “basic standards of human decency.”
“I can’t believe I’m saying a candidate for president of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women,” Mrs. Obama said.
Mrs. Obama never addressed Trump by name, referring to him only as the “candidate.”
The first lady lamented the “hurtful, hateful language about women” throughout the campaign stop, saying it was “painful” to those who expected leaders should meet “basic standards of human decency.”
Recalling a meeting with young women at the White House on Tuesday, Mrs. Obama said, “I told them they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. I wanted them to understand that the measure of any society is how it treats women and girls.”
Mrs. Obama said the comments made by Trump in the video had left her “shaken.”
“I can’t stop thinking about this,” she said. “It has shaken me to my core in a way I could not have predicted.”
She added: “I know this is a campaign but this isn’t about politics. It’s about basic human decency.”
In a 2005 videotape obtained by The Washington Post and NBC News, Trump can be heard describing in graphic terms how he uses his celebrity status to force himself upon women. Since the video was revealed, several women have come forward to say that Trump had touched them inappropriately.
Trump has denied those allegations and has dismissed the remarks made in the video as “locker room talk.”
At the New Hamsphire rally on Thursday, Obama rightly rejected that explanation.
“This was not just a lewd conversation,” she said. “This wasn’t just locker room banter. This was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior, and actually bragging about kissing and groping women, using language so obscene that many of us were worried about our children hearing it when we turned on the TV.”
Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James also rejected Trump’s characterization of lewd comments about women as “locker room talk,” telling reporters on Wednesday that the presidential candidate’s words were “trash talk.”
“What is locker room talk to me? It’s not what that guy said. We don’t disrespect women in no shape or fashion in our locker rooms. That never comes up,” James said. “I’ve got a mother-in-law, my mom, a wife and a daughter, and those conversations just don’t go on in our locker room.”
At least six women have gone public with allegations that Trump was sexually aggressive toward them.
Consider the number of outrageous remarks made by the Republican candidate during the presidential campaign, Trump’s remarks and alleged actions could be dismissed by surrogates or rationalized by a jaded electorate as simply bad behavior.
That would be a mistake.
“This is not something that we can ignore,” Mrs. Obama said. “It’s not something that we can just sweep under the rug as just another disturbing footnote in a sad election season.”