What “Jail” and “Pussy” have in common to Donald Trump

I produce podcasts for a living. I set up recordings, edit out stutters and stumbles, bring in relevant clips, and do a thousand other little tasks depending on the show.

This week, as you might guess, I’ve had to pull audio from the most famous and disturbing Tic Tac commercial of all time. And then, while assembling a collage of important moments for the opening of Primary Concerns (New Republic’s politics podcast hosted by the insightful Brian Beutler, and produced by me. Worth listening to generally!), I noticed something in Donald Trump’s voice between the two clips. It’s in the first 15 seconds of this episode:

Note: For those having difficulty on mobile try turning your phone sideways. then tap “show embed” then “listen in browser.”

Did you hear it? Here’s just what caught my attention:

Donald Trump says “grab ‘em by the pussy” and “because you’d be in jail” in the exact same smug, entitled tone. The tone signifies a brag, a threat, a perverse joke, and a refusal to see humanity in the people on the other side of his words. It also says something bigger about who Donald Trump is and what kind of president he might be.

Many have rightly clarified that Trump’s Access Hollywood tapes reveal Trump to be repulsively proud of the sexual assaults that women have alleged against him for decades. This in itself is a deeply unappealing quality in a presidential candidate, let alone any human being. I think it’s also important that we recognize that at the root of that “locker room talk,” there’s an entitlement to do whatever he feels like, to anyone. “You can do anything” is a creepy and misogynistic way to think about treating women. It’s a terrifying way to think about settling political grudges, negotiating with congress, and making decisions for the world’s largest military.

During the debate, Hillary Clinton addressed the Trump tapes, “he has said that the video doesn’t represent who he is, but I think it’s clear to anyone who heard it that it represents exactly who he is.” The same was true for those listening that night.