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White House war: Sex, sleaze, emails, and Putin (Washington Diary)

IANS  |  Washington 

Donald Trump is toast, proclaimed the pundits for the umpteenth time since he began his dizzying presidential run as an "explosive video" hit the airwaves to send his campaign into a tailspin.

Time magazine which had done a cover on the "Melt Down" of the Republican presidential candidate in August did another about his "Total Melt Down" as appalled leaders of Trump's own party abandoned him in droves.

But the diehard believers of the Manhattan Messiah still flocking to his rallies in thousands refused to see the "huge" writing on the wall as rival Democrat Hillary Clinton enlarged her lead in polls amid a WikiLeaks drip-drip-drip-drip of embarrassing emails.

A week after a hot mic had caught him bragging about groping women with impunity in a 2005 video, Trump was defiantly standing dismissing it all as a global conspiracy of multinationals, liberal media and the "Crooked Hillary" Clinton machine.

He was not perfect, he said in a rare apology for telling "Access Hollywood" host, Billy Bush, "When you're a star, they let you do it... Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything."

But it was all "locker room banter" and his Democratic rival's hubby Bill Clinton had said and done worse, Trump asserted hitting back with dirt for dirt.

And what's more, Hillary had attacked the former President's accusers more viciously than Bill, averred the billionaire as he paraded three of them as his guests at the second presidential debate.

House Speaker Paul Ryan disinvited Trump from a rally and asked his flock to fend for themselves. The 2012 Republican presidential nominee John McCain withdrew his endorsement though party chief Reince Priebus pledged "complete fidelity" to Trump.

But meeting a backlash from grassroot supporters, many "disloyal" Republican leaders got back on his train soon after the feisty second presidential debate as an "unshackled" Trump lashed out at leaders like "weak" Ryan and "loud mouth" McCain.

With only one in five Republicans calling the Trump tape as disqualifying, his campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told Republican leaders: "Enough of the pussyfooting around."

Then keeping pace with the email revelations, several women came out of the shadows accusing the mogul of forcibly groping and kissing them with even mainstream media reporting their tales in salacious details in tabloid style.

Jessica Leeds, now 74, claimed Trump "was like an Octopus" during a flight to New York in 1979. His "hands were everywhere" as he kissed her "wherever he could find a landing spot".

"If he had stuck with the upper part of the body, I might not have gotten so upset," added the former travelling businesswoman strangely. "But when he started putting his hand up my skirt, that was it. I was out of there."

"The phony story in the failing @nytimes is a TOTAL FABRICATION" Trump tweeted as he called her and other accusers "horrible horrible liars".

Meanwhile, WikiLeaks dumped thousands of emails purportedly hacked from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta's account for the seventh day running.

These included messages highlighting Hillary's email scandal, Wall Street connections, handling "backroom deals" and her 2013 admission that the largest share of donations to the Clinton Foundation came from abroad.

In one of her paid speeches to Wall Street bankers, she declared, "You need both a public and a private position" as "is like sausage being made. It is unsavoury".

Podesta called it a "dark plot" hatched by the Russians in collusion with the Trump campaign as the US government accused Moscow of trying to influence the presidential election.

"It's flattering," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told CNN, "but it has nothing to be explained by the facts; we have not seen a single proof."

"There are so many pussies around the presidential campaign on both sides that I prefer not to comment on this," he added in response to a cheeky question about Trump's pussy riot moment as Russia had its own Pussy Riot moment.

Russian President himself dismissed the "hysteria" over hacking as a diversionary tactic noting, "Everyone is saying, 'Who did it?' But does it matter that much? It's what's inside the information that matters."

Meanwhile a moveable fortune-telling Trump machine in the style of Zoltar appeared on the streets of New York City. But does the "All Seeing Trump", as it is called, know what the November 8 poll holds for him?

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, October 15 2016. 13:00 IST