The infamous Access Hollywood tape in which Donald Trump brags about his ability to “grab” women with impunity because he’s famous is real, Access Hollywood‘s hosts asserted on Monday—just in case the president had any doubts.
In response to a report that Trump was questioning the authenticity of the 2005 hot-mic recording, which captured the former reality TV star saying he could “grab [women] by the pussy,” Access Hollywood host Natalie Morales said on Monday’s show that the tap is, in fact, “very real.”
“We wanted to clear something up that has been reported across the media landscape. Let us make this perfectly clear: The tape is very real,” Morales said. “Remember his excuse at the time was ‘locker room talk.’ He said every one of those words.”
TRUMP: The "Access Hollywood" tape might be fake— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) November 28, 2017
ACCESS HOLLYWOOD: What you talkin' 'bout Willis? pic.twitter.com/EOFtO26czr
After the Washington Post revealed the tape ahead of the 2016 presidential election, Trump apologized and at no time stated that the tape was faked. When CNN’s Anderson Cooper pressed Trump on whether he “understood” that what he said was an admission of sexual assault, Trump pushed back, dismissing his comments as “locker room talk.”
“I don’t think you understand what was said,” Trump responded to Cooper during an October 2016 presidential debate. “This was locker room talk. I’m not proud of it. I apologized to my family, I apologized to the American people. Certainly, I’m not proud of it, but this was locker room talk.”
Following publication of the tape, at least 16 women came forward to say Trump sexually harassed or assaulted them.
News that Trump reportedly questioned the tape’s veracity—once to a senator and, more recently, once to an adviser, according to the New York Times—brought the tape back to the surface amid an outpouring of allegations against high-profile men across entertainment, politics, and media.
During Monday’s press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to address Trump’s reported skepticism of the tape’s legitimacy and characterized the tape as unimportant because Trump won the election.
“The president addressed this, this was litigated and certainly answered during the election by the overwhelming support for the president and the fact he’s sitting here in the Oval Office today,” she said.