Hillary Clinton chief campaign strategist Joel Benenson slammed Donald Trump’s “bogus apology” on Monday.
In an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Benenson cast Trump’s performance in Sunday’s debate as a failure. “I think on a macro level, Donald Trump had to have a game-changing performance. He had a campaign that was failing on the way in, Republicans fleeing him all weekend,” Benenson said. “He had to show them something that he hadn’t been able to show them before and I think he completely failed to do it — kinda from the moment he went out there doubling down on his bogus apology, which wasn’t an apology.”
Trump on Sunday dismissed the bombshell 2005 video that’s threatened to derail his campaign as “locker room talk.” The real estate mogul boasts in the clip that leaked Friday about trying to sleep with a married woman and brags about grabbing women’s genitals and kissing them against their will with impunity due to his celebrity.
Pressed in the debate by co-moderator Anderson Cooper of CNN on whether he understood that he was talking about sexual assault in the clip, Trump was defiant.
“No, I didn’t say that at all. I don’t think you understood what was — this was locker room talk,” he said Sunday. “I’m not proud of it. I apologized to my family. I apologized to the American people.”
The Republican presidential nominee then repeatedly invoked the Islamic State before claiming, “Nobody has more respect for women than I do.”
“I don’t think anybody who’s heard this tape thinks this was locker room banter,” Benenson argued Monday. “I don’t think any man, any woman, any father, any mother — and so I think he started off on the wrong foot with people and I think he then lost it on several issues when he was just incoherent throughout the night.”
Trump “doubled down on his non-apology for what he said in that video that came out last Friday,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said on NBC’s “Today.”
“He didn’t even seem to take the matter very seriously. He called it locker room talk, didn’t acknowledge the severity of the situation and then he pulled a stunt where he brought those individuals in to do a Facebook live event before the debate,” Mook added. “Hillary’s steady. She’s strong. She’s not gonna get thrown off her game. That’s what Donald Trump tried to do and he failed.”