Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York, speaks during a campaign event for Donald Trump, 2016 Republican presidential nominee, in Phoenix, Ariz., Aug. 31, 2016. 
Photo by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty

Rudy Giuliani struggles to defend the indefensible

One of the challenges in describing Donald Trump’s rhetoric towards women is choosing the appropriate phrasing. One of the more common adjectives used since Friday is “lewd,” which is certainly accurate, but may also be incomplete.

In the scandalous 2005 recording that surfaced, Trump described situations in which he kissed women without their consent and grabbed them by their genitals. For reasons that should be obvious, it’s led many to characterize Trump’s actions as sexual assaults.

On ABC’s “This Week” this morning, George Stephanopoulos asked Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s top surrogates and closest political allies, about the description. The exchange was extraordinary:
STEPHANOPOULOS:  You see that it was embarrassing to watch that, the problem isn’t just the words. As both Senator McConnell and Vice President Biden pointed out, what Trump is describing in that tape is sexual assault.

GIULIANI:  That’s what he’s talking about. You know, whether it happened or not, I don’t know. And how much exaggeration was involved in that? I don’t know.
Let’s not brush past this too quickly. In effect, Donald Trump’s top campaign surrogate told a national television audience this morning, “Yes, the Republican presidential candidate boasted about committing sexual assault, but we have no idea whether or not he was telling the truth.”

And that, for lack of a better word, is madness.

Vox’s report added that the interview moved on from there, but “while Giuliani claims he doesn’t know if Trump has actually committed sexual assault, there are credible allegations from at least three women to that effect.”

The clip of this morning’s exchange on ABC is online here.