Donald Trump's campaign firmly denied in May that the Republican presidential nominee walked through Miss USA pageant dressing rooms while the contestants were naked, but audio recordings unearthed and published Saturday by CNN vindicates the contestant who brought the issue to light.
Bridget Sullivan, a former Miss New Hampshire, told BuzzFeed last spring that Trump would walk through the dressing rooms to stare at the naked contestants. The campaign denied the allegations, but audio of Trump bragging about doing exactly that vindicated Sullivan, whose claims the campaign dismissed as "totally false."
"I’ll tell you the funniest is that I’ll go backstage before a show and everyone’s getting dressed ... No men are anywhere, and I’m allowed to go in, because I’m the owner of the pageant and therefore I’m inspecting it…. 'Is everyone OK'? You know, they’re standing there with no clothes. 'Is everybody OK?'" Trump is heard saying in the recording. "And you see these incredible looking women, and so I sort of get away with things like that."
Trump and Stern continue the episode by agreeing that the pageant had shifted its priority in undesirable ways by recruiting women who were intelligent and boasted impressive careers. CNN reports:
Stern asks Trump to assure his audience that "the chicks will be almost naked" at his pageant, saying to Trump that before he bought the contest, "they were starting to take women who were educated over women who were hot.""They had a person who was extremely proud that a number of the women had become doctors," Trump explained. "And I wasn't interested."
The tapes were released just one day after the Washington Post published a video of Trump in 2005 claiming that his fame allows him to sexually assault women—specifically, to "grab them by the p****."
Dozens of Republican leaders have publicly withdrawn support for Trump, and many have called on him to drop out of the race.