-- Trump has released a new, 99-second video which has been described as a "defiant apology."
Apologies aren't defiant. Defiant remarks aren't apologetic. Last night pundits seemed to agree that Trump would have to apologize, and that he didn't know how to apologize. They were right.
-- Billy Bush, the "Access Hollywood" host on the 2005 tape, who sounds distinctly uncomfortable on the tape, but afraid to call Trump out or just ask him to shut up -- that's how Bush sounds to me on the tape: uncomfortable and afraid. I imagine a great many people who've met Trump have felt that way -- has issued a much more apologetic-sounding apology, for not having stood up to Trump. Bush said in part:
"Obviously I'm embarrassed and ashamed. It's no excuse, but this happened eleven years ago. I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I'm very sorry."
-- Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announced that Trump would not be appearing with him at a campaign rally in Wisconsin. It would have been their first campaign appearance together, later on today.
-- The Governor of Utah, Gary Herbert, US Senator from Utah Mike Lee, US Representative from Utah Jason Chaffetz and former Utah Governor John Huntsman all announced they wouldn't be voting for Trump. Prominent Utah Republican Mitt Romney announced back in May that he wouldn't be voting for Trump.
Utah's other US Senator, Orrin Hatch, has not withdrawn his endorsement of Trump, but he did call Trump remarks on the 2005 tape "offensive and disgusting," and added,
"There is no excuse for such degrading behavior. "All women deserve to be treated with respect."
So, almost the entire Republican political leadership of deep-red Utah has either withdrawn its support of Trump or sounds like it might soon. What does this mean? Will it be enough to flip Utah to Hillary? What sort of an impact will it have outside of Utah?
Ask me those things again a week from now.
-- Robert De Niro released this emphatically anti-Trump video.
It looks scripted and produced, as if it was made, or at the very least was being made, before the 2005 tape was released.
The thing is, though, that the 2005 tape, although it may feel like the absolute game-changer at the moment, is just one piece of very bad news for the Trump campaign lately. And all of the bad news can be summed up like this: the campaign's candidate is Donald Trump. It's not easy in each case to sort out what was pre-2005-tape and what has happened since the tape went public. David Letterman's most recent comments calling Trump racist and badly damaged have been publicized at about the same time as the tape, but they weren't the first time Letterman publicly said these things about Trump.
I have absolutely no idea how much effect the tape will have on Nov 8. I don't know which will have more effect: the defection from the Trump campaign of almost the entire political leadership of Utah, or the combined to-the-point remarks of Letterman and De Niro. It would take a lot to flip Utah. Letterman and De Niro might be dismissed as "liberal Hollywood celebrities" by almost all of those who have supported Trump or been undecided.
But maybe the tape is a turning-point, an opening of a floodgate. Maybe it will encourage many of the victims of Trump's predatory sexual behavior to come forward.
If it does: how much of a difference will THAT make in the election? Again, I don't know. Even before the tape went public, looking at the polls, it already seemed just about impossible that Donald would win. The crucial questions remain the same as before: how wide will Hillary's margin of victory be? And how many Democratic Senators, Representatives, Governors, state legislators, city councilpeople, judges, dog catchers, etc, etc, will ride her coat-tails into office?
Oh, and one more question: after Hillary hands his ass to him, can we please go ahead and criminally prosecute Donald for something? For what? For take your pick!