Donald Trump has apologised after the Washington Post released a video in which he talks in vulgar terms about attempted sexual conquests with two women.
The Republican presidential candidate was recorded in 2005 on an open microphone in a bus talking to a TV host before a show.
“I moved on her actually, you know she was down in Palm Beach. I moved on her and I failed, I’ll admit it. I did try and I did try and **** her, she was married,” Trump is heard as saying, reportedly talking about an unnamed woman. The newspaper says the tape was recorded several months after he married his third wife.
Donald Trump’s next comments apparently refer to the actress who has been sent to meet the bus and escort the pair to the TV set.
“I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful, I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. And when you’re a star they let you do it, you can do anything.”
Trump is then seen getting out of the bus. He has responded to the revelations with a statement.
“This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course – not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended,” he said.
The apology is extremely rare for Trump and suggests he may recognise this could be damaging.
His Democratic rival lost no time in condemning him. Hillary Clinton had already highlighted Trump’s alleged sexist behaviour.
Clinton’s running mate Senator Tim Kaine said the comments made him “sick to my stomach”.
House speaker Paul Ryan also said he was “sickened” – adding that Trump would not attend a planned event in Wisconsin on Saturday – while the Republican governor of Utah tweeted that he was withdrawing his support for the Republican candidate.
In a possible indication that the fallout from the tape could extend beyond Trump himself, Billy Bush – the TV host and the other man recorded in the video – said he was sorry and embarrassed over his role.
The latest row comes two days before the second presidential debate between the two contenders, seen as critical to Trump as he tries to recover from a perceived poor performance first time round.
Since then Clinton has continued to lead in the opinion polls – the latest by Reuters/Ipsos puts her five percentage points ahead – although some Democrats are alarmed that the gap is not much bigger.