Dirty Words Won't End Trump – Endorsing Sexual Assault Might

In leaked audio, Trump talked about how he supports sexually assaulting women

The 'Washington Post' released a 2005 recording of Donald Trump saying of women, "You can do anything. Grab 'em by the pussy." Credit: Sean Rayford/Getty

The Washington Post's David Fahrenthold dropped a Friday afternoon bombshell: a 2005 hot-mic recording of Donald Trump talking to Billy Bush before filming a soap opera cameo.

Here's the quote from the recording that should immediately end his chances of becoming president:

"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 'em by the pussy. You can do anything."

In just a few hours, the story has spread like wildfire. But here's the important thing that every outlet should be clear about when they report on it: This is not a story about lewd comments. Rather, this is a story about the Republican nominee for president talking, without compunction, about how he supports sexually assaulting women. Every headline must make this clear.

CNN almost got it right in its story this afternoon. Its headline reads, "Trump bragged on hot mic about being able to grope women." That is close to accurate, but it could use even stronger language. Kissing and groping women without their consent is sexual assault. That needs to be how every outlet talks about the Washington Post report.

Notably, in this way, the Washington Post also failed in its piece. Rather than making the piece about Trump endorsing sexual assault – the real shocker here – the paper framed the story as being about bad language. "Trump recorded having extremely lewd conversation about women in 2005," reads the headline.

The Post has to change this, and all other media outlets covering this story must follow suit. What the Post has reported is that Donald Trump is talking about how he is eager to sexually assault women, just because he can, just because he's famous.

Yes, his comments are lewd, but that's irrelevant. What matters is that Trump is talking as if he can do whatever he wants with women, whenever he wants, regardless of their consent. This is rape culture, as clear as day.

Lewd comments are not enough to bring Trump to his ultimate demise; we've been treated to untold examples of him making lewd comments about women this election cycle. But endorsing sexual assault is another matter. That just might do it. And that's the story here.