Melania Trump blames Billy Bush and the media for the way her husband, Donald Trump, was caught talking on a hot mic in 2005.
The GOP presidential nominee was vulgar when he explained he liked to be forceful when hitting on women. Bush can be heard laughing at the remarks and on Monday, he exited his post at the Today show due to the fallout.
About the tape, which was recorded during an Access Hollywood interview and released by the Washington Post ahead of the second presidential debate, Melania Trump says that the two men were engaged in “boy talk, and he was led on — like, egged on — from the host to say dirty and bad stuff.”
Though she said it wasn’t language she had heard her husband use before, she agreed with Donald Trump’s description of the conversation as “locker room talk” and compared his and Bush’s behavior to “two teenage boys.” (Trump was 59 at the time, something Cooper points out.)
“Sometimes I say I have two boys at home: I have my young son and my husband,” she said on Anderson Cooper 360 with a laugh. “I know how some men talk and that’s how I saw it.”
She continued about “boys talk,” saying, “The boys, the way they talk when they grow up and they want to sometimes show each other, ‘Oh this and that,’ and talking about the girls. I was surprised, of course. But I was not surprised that the tape came out… It’s many people from the opposite side that want to damage the campaign. And why now? Why, after so many years, why three weeks before the election?”
Melania Trump then placed blame on the “left-wing media.”
“It was the media. It was NBC. It was Access Hollywood,” she said. “It was left wing and left-wing media. You could see that. Everything was organized. Every Friday something comes out.”
While she said that the conversation between her and Donald Trump when she found out was private, she again said that he apologized and she accepted, something she hopes the American people will also do.
“I said to my husband that, you know, the language was inappropriate. It’s not acceptable. And I was surprised, because that is not the man that I know. And as you can see from the tape, the cameras were not on — it was only a mic. And I wonder if they even knew that the mic was on,” she said. She added that, because Donald Trump has been on so many tapes and shows, “we knew that tapes would come out. But my husband is real, he’s raw. He tells it how it is.”
— CNN (@CNN) October 17, 2016
Cooper, who pressed Trump during the second debate about whether or not he had ever acted on the words he is heard saying on the tape (the GOP nominee said he had not), asked Melania Trump if she felt that his words were sexual assault. She said no: “He didn’t say he did it.”
The host then brought up the multiple women who have since come forward to accuse Trump of kissing and groping them without their consent.
“To accuse without evidence, it’s damaging and it’s unfair,” she said of the claims, which include two women who spoke to The New York Times and another who spoke to the Palm Beach Post. “I believe my husband. This was all organized from the opposition. The details that they go, did they ever check the background of these women? They don’t have any facts.”
Referencing the People story, in which a reporter penned a first-person essay about Trump allegedly assaulting her in the early 2000s, Melania Trump said she sent the magazine a legal letter because the encounter described in the story between the writer and Melania Trump “never happened.”
“She interviewed us twice, she came to the wedding for that story and that’s it,” she told Cooper of writer Natasha Stoynoff. “I would not recognize her on the street or ask her why we don’t see her anymore. People come out saying lies and not true stuff.”
She insisted that the accusations are “all lies” and chalked up her husband’s vulgar comments about the women as, “That’s him. He’s raw. He will say it how he feels it. I know he respects women but he is defending himself because they are all lies.”
She also told Cooper that, unlike her husband, she stays away from social media and that her marriage right now is “very strong.”
“People, they don’t really know me,” she said. “People think and talk about me like, ‘Oh, poor Melania.’ Don’t feel sorry for me. I can handle everything,”
Melania Trump will also appear on Tuesday morning’s Fox & Friends. An early peek at her interview with Fox News’ Ainsley Earhardt shows Melania Trump saying she has accepted her husband’s apology. “We are moving on,” she said.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) October 17, 2016
According to an early excerpt, Melania Trump also defended Donald Trump’s targeting of Bill Clinton.
“If they bring up my past, why not?” she said, interference to her former model photos being published. “They’re asking for it. They started. They started from the — from the beginning of the campaign putting my — my picture from modeling days. That was my modeling days and I’m proud what I did. I worked very hard.”
Speaking with Earhardt, Melania Trump also said all of the sexual assault allegations being leveled against her husband, “should be handled in a court of law and without evidence to accuse somebody, a man or a woman, it’s damaging and unfair.” She also reiterated her and Donald Trump’s belief that the allegations are part of an organized attack.
“It was all planned. It was all organized from the opposition.” -Melania Trump reacts to accusations of sexual assault against her husband pic.twitter.com/EtQ8s1the7
— FOX & Friends (@foxandfriends) October 18, 2016
In response to the released portion of the Melania Trump CNN interview, Bush’s lawyer, Marshall Grossman, told The Hollywood Reporter, “And I thought Donald Trump was going to claim he wasn’t even on the bus.”
The full CNN interview aired Monday night on Anderson Cooper 360.
Oct. 17, 3 p.m.: Updated with a statement from Bush’s lawyer.
5:25 p.m.: Updated with full CNN interview.
Oct. 18, 6:51 a.m.: Updated with information from full Ainsley Earhardt interview.