Donald Trump released a video on Friday saying that he has “said and done things I regret” and apologized for lewd comments he made about women in a 2005 conversation with then-“Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush.
The “Access Hollywood” video was leaked to the Washington Post, which published its contents on Friday. Trump’s comments drew condemnation from GOP leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
In his video, released by the campaign just after midnight on Saturday, Trump said that “anyone who knows me knows that these words don’t reflect who I am.” “I pledge to be a better man tomorrow, and will never, ever let you down,” he adds.
In his 90-second video, Trump said that he has “never said I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone that I’m not. I’ve said some things that I regret and the words released today on this more-than-a-decade-old video are one of them.” He added that he was “wrong and I apologize.”
But he said that the controversy over his 2005 remarks was a “distraction.”
He then turned to attacking Hillary and Bill Clinton.
“I’ve said some foolish things, but there’s a big difference between the words and actions of other people,” he said. “Bill Clinton has actually abused women and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed, and intimidated his victims. We will discuss this more in the coming days. See you at the debate on Sunday.”
Trump’s campaign posted his apology on Facebook and on Twitter.
What’s unclear is if the video will satisfy the calls by Ryan, McConnell and others for contrition. Some Republicans are calling on the party to abandon Trump. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) issued an angry message in response, calling Trump himself a “distraction” and asking him to step aside. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) withdrew his endorsement.
But even if Trump were to step aside — and his statement didn’t give any indication that he was even entertaining the thought — the deadline has passed in a number of states to get his name off the ballot.
The story about the “Access Hollywood” video was published mid-afternoon by the Post. According to the Post, reporter David Fahrenthold got a tip on Friday morning about the “Access Hollywood” footage, and a source sent it to him. He raced to post it online, as “Access” and NBC News, which also were preparing stories.
On CNN, Ana Navarro, a GOP consultant who has been critical of Trump, lashed out at a Trump surrogate who objected to her using the word “pussy,” a word Trump had used in the leaked video. “Don’t tell me you’re offended when I say pussy and you’re not offended when Donald Trump says it!” Navarro said angrily. “I’m not running for president. He is.”
The Post said that the story was the most concurrently viewed story in the history of its website, with 100,000 people reading it at the same time at one point on Friday.
The “Nancy” who Trump was referring to in the 2005 clip was Nancy O’Dell, then the co-host of “Access Hollywood.” along with Billy Bush. Bush exchanges comments with Trump in the video. TMZ reported in 2007 that Trump tried to drop O’Dell as a co-host of the Miss USA pageant that year because she was pregnant, but he was overruled by NBC. A source also confirmed that account to Variety on Friday. Trump at the time owned the Miss Universe Organization.