Women Are Not Up For Grabs, Donald.

Grabbing women by the pussy because you are a celebrity is not okay. Kissing women without permission is not okay. Doing whatever you want sexually with a woman is not okay.
 
 Uncomfortable with such incendiary language? You should be. Moreover, these acts constitute sexual assault, which is illegal. Perhaps someone should alert Donald Trump of that fact.

The current Republican nominee for President of The United States of America (just to hammer home that point) is on tape saying, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” Trump laughs about exploiting his power and brags about repeatedly not waiting for consent. He jokes about “big phony tits” and references to trying to “fuck” a married woman, among other obscene comments in the now infamous conversation with Billy Bush where he was caught with a hot mic in a 2005 recording obtained by The Washington Post. “Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”
 
 Harmful, offensive or unconsented touching is a criminal act that can be persecuted under battery, assault or rape — the last of which Trump was accused of by his first wife, Ivana, in a detailed deposition.

Trump’s long history of denigrating and mistreating women warrants the title of sexist. Earlier this year, the New York Times exposed his alarming workplace exploits and objectionable advances on women with detailed accounts by victims and witnesses, including forcibly kissing women on the mouth.
 
 Trump’s lewd comments about his ‘hot’ daughter, Ivanka, are well documented. He went so far as to insinuate that he would have sex with her, telling a Rolling Stone reporter, “Yeah, she’s really something, and what a beauty, that one. If I weren’t happily married and, ya know, her father . . . “ In a new AP report about his indecent, sexist behavior on set of The Apprentice, crew members say he ranked female cast by chest size and with whom he would rather have sex. And one cannot forget when he voluntarily defended his penis size on national television.
 
 Such appalling rhetoric is not foreign to the campaign trail. When debate moderator Megyn Kelly asked if a man who referred to women as “fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals” is eligible to serve as president, Trump went on to slam the Fox News anchor in the media, saying, “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever.”

He openly critiques female physiques, whether his multiple model wives, Rosie O’Donnell, or contestants in his beauty pageant franchise. Trump has subjected some, like Alicia “Miss Piggy” Machado, to name calling and sex-shaming for weight gain after the Miss Universe pageant. Referencing old footage of Trump talking about his younger daughter Tiffany as a mere baby, The Daily Show host Trevor Noah said, “We know for sure that there’s no female too small for Trump to reduce her to her body parts… To him, every woman is just a pair of legs connected to a pair of breasts.”

In the wake of the #TrumpTapes release, Donald Trump attempted an apology in a forced video posted across his social media channels. Trump said his quotes do not reflect who he truly is (a lame platitude echoed by his current wife Melania in a trite, unconvincing statement), yet decades of actions clearly indicate otherwise. “This is nothing more than a distraction from the important issues we’re facing today,” he quips in the insincere recording. But sexual violence, lack of gender equity, discrimination against women, misogyny, and workplace harassment, to name but a few, are among those all-important issues, especially for the women with whom he is already struggling in polls. Only 11 percent believe that electing Trump would be good for women, compared with 45 percent for Clinton. New polling data will surely show loss of support and increased unfavorables for Trump.

Predatory statements cannot be cast off as “locker room talk,” Trump’s misguided justification in the video apology. Any attempts at normalization make such profane words and actions seem commonplace, acceptable, tolerable. It is indefensible, fueling sexual violence, harassment, and rape culture.
 

 The backlash against Trump escalated with new speed and severity, spurring widespread condemnation by elected officials on both sides of the aisle for the first time. Vice President Joe Biden called out Trump’s demeaning language as blatant “abuse of power,” naming it sexual assault, alongside lambasting by countless Democrats. Dozens of leading Republican politicians — men and women, Senators and Congressmembers, one time candidates and state officials — who were reticent to speak out against Trump have now publically vowed to not vote for the party nominee, revoked prior endorsements, and called for him to withdraw from the race entirely.

CNN commentator Ana Navarro asserted, “every single Republican is going to have to answer the question: ‘What did you do the day you saw the tape of this man boasting about grabbing a woman’s pussy?’ Period.” On air, she probes a visibly aghast panel, “what else do we need to see to disown him?” Politicians are not waiting a moment more, taking to digital media en masse to distance themselves from Trump. Former Republican Presidential candidate Governor John Kasich’s written statement detailed that his decision to not vote for Trump is “an accumulation of his words and actions that many have been warning about.” Senator John McCain, who Trump famously attacked for being captured as a POW, cited numerous reasons, including Trump’s outspoken comments against the Khan Gold Star family, Judge Curiel, the Central Park Five, and, yes, women. Jeb Bush tweeted that “no apology can excuse away Donald Trump’s reprehensible comments degrading women.” As Condoleezza Rice said, “Enough!” After spending much of this week’s Vice Presidential debate defending Trump or avoiding such questions, even his running mate Mike Pence could not condone or defend his remarks, canceling campaign event appearances over the weekend. Many Republican leaders are now calling for Pence to be appointed the nominee or declaring that they will write him in regardless.

Trump has effectively disqualified himself for the presidency with the addition of this recent abhorrent behavior. The unearthing of such vile utterances has dangerous ramifications that appear to resonate with Americans across party lines. He is a bigot who has viciously attacked and discriminated against Muslims, Latinos, African Americans, Mexicans, innumerable groups, while fueling the rise of the alt-right, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists. Women are but one of many peoples and voter blocks who are outraged and, I can only hope, all are mobilized to vote in line with values.

Donald, we are not up for grabs.