Plenty of writers more widely read that I have commented on the Donald Trump “bus video.” If you decide not to read this blog, I don’t blame you.
On the tape Mr. Trump can be heard boasting about groping women and attempting to seduce them. He can act this way, he tells his conversation partner, because his status as a TV star guarantees him impunity.
I’m not surprised by this video. It strikes me as entirely consistent with my earlier assessment of Mr. Trump’s moral core. His behavior on the recording is reprehensible, but not out of character. Nor am I scandalized by the vulgar language on the tape. In my college days I worked on oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. I heard much the same from the lips of roustabouts and roughnecks. That kind of talk has always made me cringe, but it doesn’t shock.
What bothers me most about this tawdry business is Mr. Trump’s non-apology. His response is to say that he is not proud of what’s on the tape, but it’s just “locker room talk” – mere words. His clear implication is that, when they are sure they will not be overheard by women, all men speak that way.
Well, they don’t. I don’t. My sons don’t. The men I work with don’t. The men I exercise with don’t. And the men I am proud to call my friends don’t.
I’m a Calvinist. I believe all men (and all women) are sinners. That doesn’t mean that all men speak of women with contempt, disdain, and condescension, or that they joke about violating their own marriage vows.
I’m a sinner, just like my brother Donald, but I don’t like being tarred with his brush just because we’re both men. On the lips of teenage boys “locker room talk” is a sign of immaturity. Coming from a grown man of 59 years it’s a sign of arrested moral development.
There is, of course, Biblical precedence. King David famously impregnated another man’s wife and arranged for her husband to be killed in battle. David was both an adulterer and a murderer, but David came to himself and repented before God.
Brother Donald is different. Although he describes himself as a “strong Christian,” it’s not likely we will see Mr. Trump in sackcloth and ashes. His lack of repentance is the saddest aspect of this sad episode
I said much the same about Bill Clinton back in the day. But, you might have noticed, Bill Clinton isn’t running for President.