Has Donald Trump finally gone too far?
Donald Trump has survived many controversies since he announced he was running for the US presidency in June last year. Almost immediately after declaring he would seek the Republican nomination, he came under fire for attacking Mexican immigrants to America.
“They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they’re telling us what we’re getting.”
In the month that followed he attacked former Republican presidential candidate John McCain for being captured during the Vietnam War: “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.”
In August he attacked Fox Host Megyn Kelly for asking “all sorts of ridiculous questions”, hinting that it was clear Kelly was menstruating. “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.” And in September it was primary opponent Carly Fiorina’s turn, when he insulted her looks in an interview with Rolling Stone. “Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?”
After a whole month without a major controversy, he mocked a disabled New York Times reporter at a rally in November. “Now the poor guy, you ought to see this guy,” Mr Trump said as he mimicked Serge Kovalevski’s anthrogryposis with an offensive hand gesture.
In December he suggested the US should torture and kill terrorists’ family members — and then infamously announced his plan to ban all Muslims from entering the country. His campaign issued a press release calling for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
In February this year he encouraged supporters to attack protesters at his rallies. “If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. OK? Just knock the hell. I promise you — I will pay for the legal fees.”
In March he claimed women should be punished for having abortions, if Roe vs Wade was to be overturned. “The answer is there has to be some sort of punishment,” he told MSNBC.
And in May he claimed Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of John F Kennedy, just hours before his opponent dropped out of the primary race. Later that same month he claimed that a Hispanic American judge who issued a negative ruling against Trump University should recuse himself because of his Mexican heritage, despite the judge actually being born in Indiana.
July was a busy month for the American billionaire when he called on Russian security forces to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails, at a Miami press conference. “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” And then insulted the parents of a Muslim Gold Star family whose son had been killed in action in Iraq, after the couple spoke at the Democratic convention. “If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say.”
In August, at a rally in North Carolina, Trump implied that supporters of America’s right to bear arms should go after Clinton. “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks… Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”
And then in September a former Miss Universe contestant came forward, claiming Trump mocked her and called her “Miss Piggy” for gaining weight after she won the beauty pageant. Rather than apologise Trump instead doubled down on the comments, insulting Machado with a series of early morning tweets.
But it is the latest scandal, from which the real estate mogul has picked up the moniker “Groper-in-Chief”, that may finally be his undoing after the Washington Post got hold of a 2005 video in which the Republican hopeful bragged about kissing women without asking and groping them inappropriately, claiming that he was able to get away with anything due to his celebrity.
“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful. I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything… Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”
Whether this will truly sink the candidate, who has already survived many more crises than his opponents ever thought possible, is yet to be seen — but the signs are that at least some supporters have had enough, with more than 50 prominent Republicans withdrawing their support for the New York businessman, including Arizona senator John McCain, South Dakota senator and third-ranking Republican in the Senate John Thune, New Hampshire senator Kelly Ayotte, and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
More importantly is Donald Trump’s position in the polls, which show signs that an exodus of support is underway. A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll put Mrs Clinton ahead of Mr Trump by 11 per cent. This is in a four-way match-up alongside independent candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. In a head-to-head poll with Trump, Clinton leads by an incredible 14 per cent.
Perhaps, finally, Donald Trump has gone one controversy too far.
The world can only hope.