Donald Trump’s Worst Week started this morning with an Associated Press report in which more than 20 former crew, editors and contestants on NBC’s reality series The Apprentice claimed the show star rated female contestants based on breast size and the degree to which he would like to have sex with them.
But the report got lost in the crush of reports about Trump that came out today and dominated the TV News cycle. Among them, WaPo broke the news New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman had ordered the Trump Foundation to stop fundraising in the state, over reports it had not submitted to routine audits the state requires. And TV News outlets are by no means done with the weekend’s New York Times report that it had obtained records showing Trump declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns, which could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years.
(“While we remain very concerned about the political motives behind AG Schneiderman’s investigation, the Trump Foundation nevertheless intends to cooperate fully with the investigation,” Trump campaign rep Hope Hicks has said in a statement. “Because this is an ongoing legal matter, the Trump Foundation will not comment further at this time.”)
And Trump appeared to shoot himself in the foot today in addressing a panel for the Retired American Warriors PAC in Virginia in which he remarked that veterans who commit suicide can’t handle the post-traumatic stress of war. In an answer he gave on what he would do to address issues around post-traumatic stress disorder and suicides by military veterans, Trump said, “When people come back from war and combat, and they see things that maybe a lot of the folks in this room have seen many times over, and you’re strong and you can handle it, but a lot of people can’t handle it,”
That played poorly in social media:
Trump running-mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is going to have his hands full at tomorrow’s one-and-only VEEP debate. That’s a break for Hillary Clinton’s running mate, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, who’d been in the hot seat heading into tomorrow’s debate, what with some recent polls showing only one in three voters think Clinton is well enough to serve a full term in office.
For the AP story out today on Trump’s The Apprentice behavior, the wire service worked for about two months, talking to show staffers and contestants in separate interviews in which they “gave concurring accounts of inappropriate conduct on the set” by the GOP White House hopeful.
During one season, Trump called for female contestants to wear shorter dresses that also showed more cleavage, AP reports, citing contestant Gene Folkes. Several cast members said Trump had one female contestant twirl before him so he could ogle her figure. That’s reminiscent of allegations made by some against former Fox News chief Roger Ailes, who is reported to be playing an unofficial advisory role in Trump’s campaign.
Former producer Katherine Walker said Trump frequently talked about women’s bodies during the five seasons she worked with him and speculated which female contestant would be “a tiger in bed.”
Randal Pinkett, who won the program in December 2005 and who has been critical of Trump’s candidacy, told the AP the real estate mogul discussed which female contestants he wanted to have sex with “even though Trump had married former model Melania Knauss earlier that year.”
It’s unclear from the writing if the AP is suggesting Trump’s behavior on the show would have been less inappropriate were he not a married man at the time.
“These outlandish, unsubstantiated, and totally false claims fabricated by publicity hungry, opportunistic, disgruntled former employees, have no merit whatsoever,” Hicks has said in a statement in re the AP report.