Donald Trumps sex boasts: When you are a star they let you do anything
The way he treats women, or he talks about women, in such a vile way … Im not sure I really want to trust someone like that, who doesnt value people.
At 57, Porter has never voted for a Democrat and felt as though she might stay home. But the avalanche of revelations detailing Trumps behavior toward women, including a growing number allegations of sexual assault, appear to have pushed Porter over the edge ready to cast a ballot for
I cant believe Im saying that, but yes, she said. Without suburban women like her, Trumps route to the White House looks hard to navigate.
Since the recording of Trump emerged, Republicans and right-leaning independents everywhere have found themselves soul-searching as they vacillate between party and principle. But in the battleground of New Hampshire, a state that holds the distinction of being the first in US history to have an all-female delegation of congresswomen and senators, Trumps latest controversy is, for some female voters, perhaps the final straw.
A number of women who spoke with the Guardian at the strip malls of the Manchester suburbs said they were deeply troubled by Trumps remarks, even as they confessed to still being torn over their choices.
Hope Grugnali, a 38-year-old resident of Amherst, contemplated what effect Trumps vulgar language might have on her three children.
Im a woman and I have a daughter, and I dont want people to treat her disrespectfully, Grugnali said, as she clutched a pair of childrens shoes in the aisles of a discount store.
I also have sons, she added, and I dont want them to think they can go around treating a woman like that, either.
Grugnali identified herself as an independent who was initially drawn to the former Florida governor Jeb Bush but ultimately voted for the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders in the states open primary. She had not yet settled on voting for Clinton, but described the impact of the Trump tape as terrible.
I think that
Donald Trump is worse than anyone, so its anyone but him.
Laura Rexford, 37, offered a similar response. If we condone what hes saying, what about that guy who raped an unconscious girl? she said, invoking the sexual assault of an unconscious woman by a
Stanford University swimmer outside a fraternity house last year. Do Trumps comments make that OK?
Rexford, too, is an independent who views neither major-party candidate favorably but said it would be wasting her vote not to cast a ballot for one of them. In spite of her trust issues with Clinton, she said she was beginning to lean toward her: I dont think he has the ability to be president.
Following numerous shakeups in his campaign, Trump
hired as his campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, a Republican strategist whose background was heavy in its emphasis on helping the party communicate with female voters. Briefly, he showed signs of message discipline, bound mostly to a teleprompter in August and September, and embarking upon what his campaign described as outreach toward minorities.
Republican operatives outside the Trump campaign said it was a shift in tone designed to make suburban women see past his inflammatory rhetoric and feel comfortable voting for him.
But then came the tape. Dozens of Republican elected officials
rescinded their endorsements of Trump, with some even calling upon the nominee to step aside.
The New Hampshire senator Kelly Ayotte, one of the more vulnerable Republicans facing re-election in November, was the first to withdraw her support for Trump after the tape emerged.
But her opponent, the Democratic governor, Maggie Hassan, has cast Ayottes decision to renounce Trump as one of political calculation. She stood by Donald Trump as he not only insulted women, but insulted a Gold Star family [who lost a son in the Iraq War], insulted people with disabilities, Hassan said on Wednesday after touring a pin manufacturing plant in Ayottes hometown of Nashua.
Hassan also seized upon Ayottes response, in a debate just days before the release of the tape, when asked if Trump was a role model. After stumbling around her answer, Ayotte said he absolutely was a characterization she immediately retracted, but not before the damage had been done.
Ayotte held her own conversation with reporters in Manchester on Wednesday, after attending a ceremony for fallen police officers. On a television screen behind her, an attack ad by Hassan tied her to Trump while featuring her role model comment.
Ayotte, who spent much of the last year condemning Trumps statements, said she made the decision to revoke her support as a matter of principle. Thats more important to me than winning an election, the senator said.
Clinton holds a five-point edge over Trump in New Hampshire based on
the Huffington Posts pollster model, which takes an average of publicly available surveys.
UMass Lowell/7 News poll released in the wake of Trumps offensive tape found that more than four in five likely New Hampshire voters had either heard his comments or discussed them with others. While 66% said it did not make a difference, 30% said they were less likely to vote for Trump with women more inclined than men to drop their support for the Republican nominee.
Trump has spent the past week waging scorched earth warfare against the Republican lawmakers who spurned him, while also seeking to discredit the women who have accused him of sexual assault. He has also insulted the physical appearance of some of his accusers and questioned their motivations for coming forward now.
While its improbable that Trumps base would alone be enough to carry him over the finish line on 8 November, it may be all that he has.
As dusk fell upon the historic downtown of Nashua, Jean and Lise Parent, a married couple, were wrapping up the day inside their property management office. The window was adorned with Halloween cobwebs and spiders and a sign in support of the Republican nominee: The silent majority stands with Trump.
If a woman waits 30 years to come and say a story like that Lise, 69, said of the sexual assault allegations against Trump.
Thats bullshit, her husband Jean, 73, interjected.
Theres something wrong, Lise continued. Shes getting paid for it. Shes getting money somewhere.
The couple was two doors down from the Trump campaigns Nashua office, which had only a handful of volunteers despite just 21 days remaining until election day.
The Parents, who said they were tired of politicians, were drawn to Trump as a force of change. Like most of his supporters, they blamed Trumps opponents for colluding with the media to sabotage his campaign.
I think theyre trying to grab as much dirt as they can to eliminate him, because the establishment is not behind him, Jean said. The Republicans are so scared that hes going to mess up. I call them chicken shit, Lise said.
Were they not concerned by any of Trumps incendiary comments? The response from Jean was simple: Like what?