Melania Trump, wife of Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, walks to the podium at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, July 18, 2016.
Photo by J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Trump’s wife struggles to defend the indefensible

In recent campaign history, certain myths have taken hold in ways that obscure what actually happened. Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign, for example, was already collapsing at the time of his “scream” in Iowa. Mitt Romney’s support was already falling in 2012 when the “47 percent” video reached the public.

And Donald Trump’s support was already fading when Americans heard his 2005 boasts about sexual assault, so his candidacy’s current difficulties cannot solely be blamed on the “grab them by the p***y” audio.

That said, it certainly didn’t help. Complicating matters, Trump and his allies still haven’t thought of a credible way to explain the recording, though the candidate’s wife did her best during a CNN interview yesterday.
Melania Trump defended Donald Trump against allegations that he sexually assaulted women, saying in a rare interview Monday night that her husband was “egged on” to make lewd comments about women that were caught on tape in 2005. […]

[She dismissed the conversation between Trump and Billy Bush] as “boy talk” and speculated that her husband “was led on – like, egged on – from the host to say dirty and bad stuff.”
That’s not much of a defense. Donald Trump didn’t want to brag about sexual misconduct, but he fell sway to the persuasive powers of the host of an entertainment-news show? For all the talk about Trump’s persona as a tough guy, he succumbed to pressure from Billy Bush?

Not only is this unpersuasive, it’s not even true – there’s nothing on the recording to suggest Trump was reluctant to boast about his exploits.

As for the “boy talk,” let’s not forget that Trump was 59 at the time of the interview.

Reminded of this detail by Anderson Cooper, Melania Trump responded, “Correct, and sometimes I said I have two boys at home. I have my young son and I have my husband.”

It was intended as a lighthearted joke, but given that she was talking about her husband’s rhetoric about sexual misconduct, this also wasn’t flattering. Donald Trump’s wife, reflecting on the presidential candidate’s maturity, apparently thinks of him as a child.

As for the women who’ve accused her husband of assault – allegations the Republican candidate and his team vehemently deny – Melania Trump argued without evidence that the claims were “all organized from the opposition.”

She also argued yesterday, in reference to her husband’s attacks against Bill Clinton, “They’re asking for it…. They started from the beginning of the campaign putting my picture from modeling days.”

As best as I can tell, the Clinton campaign has never taken an interest in Melania Trump’s modeling pictures.