Puffy-faced Donald Trump does not look like a guy who spends a lot of time in locker rooms, unless you count the plush changing facilities at the country clubs where he hangs out with other billionaire golfers. Still, as we now know, he revels in what he calls “locker room talk.”
The Republican Party was slammed like a crash-test dummy by last week’s revelation of a videotape in which Trump boasts about how his celebrity entitles him to kiss, grope and seduce any beautiful woman who comes near him. GOP luminaries such as Arizona Sen. John McCain, the party’s standard bearer in 2008, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, the No. 2 guy on the Republican ticket in 2012, along with numerous members of Congress, have announced that they can no longer give even grudging support to Trump. New polls indicate that women across the country will vote against Trump in even more lopsided numbers than already anticipated.
It is pretty much assumed this will not be the last chance for voters to hear Trump use language that more typically would be heard from a horny frat boy after a keg stand and several pints of Jägermeister. Reportedly, various staffers who worked on Trump’s reality TV show, “The Apprentice” say there are hours and hours of video in which the star of the show lets his lechery run loose.
Trump first responded to the uproar by saying, “This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course — not even close.” This was like a little kid in trouble saying, “Billy stole two candy bars from the store and I only stole one!” It doesn’t get him off the hook for his own words and deeds.
Trump was not in a locker room when he was speaking so offensively. He was in mixed company on an “Access Hollywood” bus, wearing a live microphone and preparing to meet Arianne Zucker, a “Days of Our Lives” actress. It is in the seconds before Trump and interviewer Billy Bush ooze off the bus and insist that Zucker give them hugs that Trump claims one of the perks of stardom is that women don’t complain if you “grab them by the [genitals].” Millions of voters saw this and felt the urge to gag.
A number of professional athletes were offended as well. Doc Rivers, former NBA point guard and current coach of the L.A. Clippers, said of Trump’s version of locker room talk, “That’s a new locker room for me.” Ex-Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe took Trump to task for his characterization of locker room banter. “We never had anyone say anything as foul and demeaning as [Trump] did on that tape,” Kluwe wrote in a blog post for Vox. “Hell, I played a couple years with a guy who later turned out to be a serial rapist. Even he never talked like that.”
I’ve spent a lot of time in locker rooms in recent years with men whose ages range from 20-something to 60-something. Sure, there is occasional talk about sex. Attractive women are noticed and noted. But I’ve never heard any of them talk like Trump.
That doesn’t mean some men do not talk that way. Plenty do. But they are oafish jerks. And so is Trump.
Follow me at @davidhorsey on Twitter