On a campaign stop in Charlotte Tuesday, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said she was “disgusted” by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s lewd comments about women in a 2005 video made public Friday.
While Trump and his supporters have explained the words as “locker room talk,” Richards said: “I’ve been in a lot of locker rooms…and that’s not locker room talk.…It’s really about sexual assault.”
Richards, who is traveling the country as a surrogate for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, said Trump has disparaged women for years, calling them “pigs” and “dogs,” and has “harassed, demeaned and belittled” Clinton during their two televised debates.
In the video released Friday by The Washington Post and NBC News, Trump could be heard bragging in vulgar terms about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women as he and Billy Bush, then-host of “Access Hollywood,” waited to film a segment on Trump’s 2005 cameo on “Days of Our Lives.”
“This isn’t a new thing,” Richards said. “This is a pattern of behavior.”
Richards said it was difficult to watch Sunday night’s debate, where Trump stood close behind Clinton on the stage, called her a liar and said she had “hate in her heart.” Being President “requires enormous discipline,” Richards said, but Trump is “so thin-skinned that he reacts to the slightest provocation.…He is temperamentally unfit to hold the highest office of the land.”
Richards lauded Clinton’s record as a supporter of women’s health and reproductive rights. She compared that to Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who as a Congressman was at the forefront of an effort to block federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood, which provides women with cancer screenings and counseling services as well as abortions.
“He and Donald Trump would be a disaster for women’s health care,” Richards said.
As governor, Pence signed legislation making Indiana the second state in the nation to ban abortions in cases where women seek the procedure after learning the fetus has a disability. Richards warned that Trump and Pence would appoint Supreme Court justices who’d want to “take away 40 years of rights” by voting to overturn Roe v. Wade,” the 1973 decision that legalized abortion.
Since passage of the Affordable Care Act, Richards said 55 million women now can get birth control at no cost. She said increased access to birth control and family planning services has enabled the country to reach a 30-year low in unintended pregnancies and a historic low in teenage pregnancies.
“It’s unthinkable that we would elect someone who would take us back to the 1950s,” Richards said.