Jake Tapper on Sunday confronted former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Donald Trump surrogate, over a recently surfaced 2005 lewd hot mic incident in which the Republican nominee boasted about forcing himself onto women.
In the audio, published on Friday, Trump bragged about kissing and groping women. At the time, Trump said he could “grab” women “by the p—y” because “when you’re a star, they let you do it.”
Tapper characterized Trump’s comments as “vile and disgusting,” and repeatedly pressed Giuliani to justify why voters should support Trump in light of his remarks.
“He’s essentially voicing a casual attitude towards sexual assault. What was your response when you first heard it?” Tapper asked during an interview on “State of the Union.”
Giuliani, a generally outspoken Trump defender, said he was disgusted by Trump’s comments, calling them “horrible remarks you don’t want to hear from anyone, much less a presidential candidate.” The mayor pointed out that Trump apologized for his comments, before attempting to critique Hillary Clinton for her management of the State Department.
“He said he realized that he was wrong, and that doesn’t reflect the way he looks at things today,” Giuliani said.
He added: “The question is is this the one issue on which we should decide [the election]?”
The CNN anchor pointed out that he understood why Giuliani was attempting to change the subject, but continued to criticize Trump’s comments.
“He’s talking about actions that are sexual assault. He was 59 or 60-years-old when he said it, this wasn’t something he said when he was 18 years old,” Tapper said. “He’s talking about a feeling of entitlement because he’s a star. He can go up to women and grab them by the vagina, and it’s okay, he won’t get in trouble for it. It’s really offensive on just a human level. Who did he do this too?”
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) October 9,2016
When Giuliani attempted to claim that some people criticizing Trump were hypocritical for “throwing stones,” Tapper interjected.
“I have never said that, I have never done that,” Tapper said. “I’m happy to throw a stone. I’ve been in locker rooms, I’ve been a member of a fraternity. I have never heard any man ever brag about being able to maul women because they get away with it. Never.”
The mayor defended Trump, saying that although he wasn’t attempting to justify Trump’s remarks, “Men at times talk like that.”
Giuliani also previewed a line of attack likely to emerge on Sunday night’s presidential debate, characterizing Clinton as the “leader of the attack” against women who claimed to have had affairs with former President Bill Clinton.