Donald Trump amplified his contentious history with microphones Thursday, blaming the technology for recording what he thought he was saying in private.
In an interview set to air Thursday, Trump faulted a hot mic for capturing him speaking cavalierly about forcibly kissing and groping women with impunity because he’s “a star.”
The leaked 2005 “Access Hollywood” video has badly damaged Trump’s campaign and set off a series of sexual assault allegations from a dozen or so women since he denied during the second presidential debate ever actually assaulting women, despite his aggressive rhetoric.
“The microphones, I mean to be honest should, you know, should never have been on,” he said, according to an excerpt of an interview scheduled to broadcast Thursday evening with the global Catholic network EWTN and published by The Washington Post. “But that was locker room talk.”
Trump, who has denied the sexual assault allegations and threatened to sue his accusers after the election, has repeatedly dismissed his rhetoric as “locker room talk” and attacked the Clintons for having done worse, although he did apologize for his remarks.
The GOP nominee has a storied history with microphones. Trump complained during a January rally that his microphone was popping and directed his team not to pay the “son of a b—-” or “bastard” who set up the microphone system.
“Whoever the hell brought this mic system, don’t pay the son of a b—- who put it in,” he said. “No, this mic is terrible. Stupid mic keeps popping. … You know I believe in paying, but when somebody does a bad job, like this stupid mic, you shouldn’t pay the bastard. Terrible!”
He told reporters after the first presidential debate last month that he was given a “defective microphone,” musing whether it was done on purpose. The following morning, he also held his microphone culpable for his “sniffles,” insisting he had no sniffles or a cold but that the “very bad” mic may have been good enough to catch his breathing.
The Commission on Presidential Debates said in a brief statement “there were issues … that affected the sound level in the debate hall.” A source with knowledge of the conversation with the debate commissioners, however, said Trump was partly to blame for touching his microphone after he was warned not to.
He also boasted via Twitter that he won that debate “despite the really bad microphone” and questioned why the commission didn’t fix his microphone if it was aware of its issues.
Following their debate, Hillary Clinton quipped to reporters, “Anybody who complains about the microphone is not having a good night.”