Rudy Giuliani, New York City’s former mayor who is now a top adviser to Donald Trump, had an unenviable job Sunday as he made the rounds on the morning news talk shows. After Friday’s leaking of a 2005 tape in which Donald Trump boasted of groping women, several Republican leaders have condemned Trump and even urged him to quit the race.
Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, ABC’s This Week and CNN’s State of the Union, Giuliani tried to make the case that the Republican presidential candidate made “a full and complete apology” for the “horrible” remarks while also downplaying the significance of the crude statements.
“Talk and actions are two different things,” Giuliani told Meet the Press host Chuck Todd.
But the morning shows’ hosts all noted that Trump’s bragging of making unwanted sexual contact with women appears to have been more than just talk; earlier this year The New York Times published a story in which several women spoke of Trump crossing a line, including a former Miss Utah who said that Trump—then owner of the Miss USA pageant—had kissed her on the lips upon meeting her and did that with other pageant contestants.
Giuliani said he didn’t know how much of Trump’s boasts in that 2005 tape with Billy Bush, then a co-host of Access Hollywood was “exaggeration” and how much was true.
On Sunday evening, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will have their second presidential debate, a town-hall style forum where questions about Trump’s behavior towards women will surely come up. On Saturday, CNN published an article detailing Trump’s sexist banter with radio host Howard Stern, including one segment in which Trump said it was okay for Stern to call his daughter Ivanka a “piece of ass.”
Giuliani suggested that Trump would apologize again to voters and suggested that Trump’s presidential campaign had changed Trump and made him a more serious figure. “..Running for president does something to you. It changes a lot of the way you look at things,” he told ABC’s George Stepanopoulos. “He realizes he’s got the weight of responsibility on him,” he told Chuck Todd.
In Trump’s videotaped apology, Trump had indicated he’d attack Hillary Clinton for her handling of Bill Clinton’s affairs. But on Saturday, as even his running mate, Mike Pence, disavowed Trump’s 2005 comments, the question is, would Trump make Hillary Clinton’s handling of Clinton’s infidelities an issue?
Giuliani hedged, telling Stephanopolous, “It depends on how the debate goes.”
Trump, meanwhile, was busy on Twitter, retweeting about Bill Clinton’s behavior with women and lashing out against Republican leaders who withdrew their support for him.
Giuliani was a last-minute fill in on these morning shows. Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, was slated to appear on Fox News’ Sunday and Meet the Press but pulled out, citing “scheduling” conflicts. RNC chairman Rience Priebus was to appear on CBS’s “Face the Nation” and “This Week,” but he then claimed that Trump’s campaign wanted instead a “campaign person” to appear instead.
The second presidential debate is tonight at 9 pm EST.