ST. LOUIS — After suffering a pre-debate oppo dump of epic proportions, an embattled and defiant Donald Trump is scheduled to take the stage Sunday night against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and try to salvage his candidacy as more than 25 lawmakers from his own party are calling on the Republican nominee to drop out of the race for the White House.
It’s a near certainty that the two candidates will be talking about sex when they face off for the second presidential debate at Washington University starting at 9 p.m. EST.
The Clinton campaign was given a nice, big gift Friday night from the Washington Post after the outlet published video from 2005 — supplied by an anonymous source — of Trump having a vulgar conversation in private with then-Access Hollywood host Billy Bush. (RELATED: Trump Apologizes After Hidden Cam Video Surfaces Of Him Talking Lewd About Women)
In it, Trump speaks of his attempts at sleeping with a former host of that television show. “I did try and fuck her,” Trump is heard saying in the recording. “She was married, and I moved on her very heavily… I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there, and she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.”
Trump also said: “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful [women], 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.”
In his apology Friday, Trump — who didn’t bring up former President Bill Clinton’s sexual improprieties or the accusations of rape against him during the first presidential debate — hinted that he may try to turn the issue back on the Clintons.
“Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course – not even close,” Trump said Friday. (RELATED: This Is The Woman Donald Trump Tried To Sleep With In 2005)
In recent weeks, Trump has openly ruminated about the prospect of bringing up the allegations about Bill Clinton’s sexual past in the debate. He previously said the only reason he didn’t do it in the first debate was out of respect for Chelsea Clinton, who was sitting in the front row.
On Saturday night, Trump retweeted Juanita Broaddrick, a woman who said Bill Clinton raped her in 1978 and Hillary Clinton attacked her when she went public.
— Alex Pappas (@AlexPappas) October 9, 2016
As he prepared Saturday for the televised showdown, Trump endured a day of prominent Republicans — from Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus to former Republican nominees John McCain and Mitt Romney to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice — issuing statements to express disgust at his comments from 11 years ago. More than two dozen current GOP members of Congress have asked him to step down, with some saying they would like to see Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, replace him.
Trump has apologized for the story and has vowed to remain in the race despite those calls. On Saturday afternoon, the candidate tweeted: “The media and establishment want me out of the race so badly – I WILL NEVER DROP OUT OF THE RACE, WILL NEVER LET MY SUPPORTERS DOWN!” (RELATED: Trump: ‘I Will Never Drop Out Of The Race’)
On Saturday, Pence expressed optimism Trump would be able to use the debate to save himself: “We pray for his family and look forward to the opportunity he has to show what is in his heart when he goes before the nation tomorrow night,” the vice presidential nominee said Saturday.
The Clinton campaign hasn’t taken responsibility for the leaking of the video from Access Hollywood — but the timing of its release couldn’t be much better for them. The Washington Post won’t say who gave it to them but said its reporter David Fahrenthold “got a phone call around 11 a.m. Friday from a source with a tip about Donald Trump. The source asked: Would Fahrenthold be interested in seeing some previously unaired video of Trump?”
It’s a great disappointment to conservatives that Trump’s comments from 2005 will likely frame the debate and the news coverage of it. Pence, his running mate, was largely seen as the winner of last week’s vice presidential debate — and that gave Republicans optimism that Trump would model himself after Pence and effectively go after Clinton.
In the first debate — last month at Hofstra University in New York — Trump largely played defense against the moderator’s questions and Clinton’s attacks. It had been hoped that Trump would use the second debate to bring up issues that hardly, if at all, came up in the first one: Hillary’s Clinton’s emails and the FBI investigation into her, the Benghazi attacks, questions surrounding the ethics of the Clinton Foundation, among other topics.
As for the types of questions being asked, the Commission on Presidential Debates said the “second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which half of the questions will be posed directly by citizen participants and the other half will be based on topics of broad public interest as reflected in social media and other sources.”
Moderating the debate at Washington University will be ABC’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
The Daily Caller has a team of reporters on the ground in St. Louis. Check back for news reports and Facebook Live analysis from the debate site on The Daily Caller’s page.