In a dramatic sit down interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper that has sparked a Twitter trend, Melania Trump said Donald Trump’s lewd comments on the notorious Billy Bush tape were “boy talk,” according to CNN.
CNN says she also claimed Bush “egged on” Donald Trump. The comments have fueled a firestorm of Twitter commentary, with some using the hashtag #BillyBushMadeMeDoIt.
Melania sat down on Monday evening with CNN’s Anderson Cooper for a much anticipated first interview in the wake of the groping and kissing allegations against her husband.
CNN has released some of Melania’s comments in advance of the interview. The interview is scheduled to air at 8 p.m. Eastern standard time on October 17. You can watch it here online via CNN’s official stream, but you will need a cable log in to do so.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Melania Called Trump’s Comments on the Billy Bush Tapes ‘Boy Talk’
The Billy Bush tape captured Trump and then Access Hollywood host Billy Bush engaging in lewd comments about women in 2005. According to CNN, Melania says her husband was “egged on” and referred to her husband’s comments on the tape as “boy talk.”
CNN quoted Melania as saying the comments were “boy talk, and he was led on — like, egged on — from the host to say dirty and bad stuff.”
CNN said that Melania used the term boys several time, quoting her as also saying the tape reminded her of, “The boys, the way they talk when they grow up…”
On the tape, which was first published by The Washington Post, Trump tells Bush about a failed attempt to have sex with a married woman, later revealed as Entertainment Tonight co-host Nancy O’Dell. The Post said Trump had been married to Melania for “several months” during the time of the conversation. You can listen to the Bush tape here.
In the video, Trump tells Bush the story, saying, “I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.” In another controversial comment, he says that when people are a star, they can do anything. “Grab them by the p—y. You can do anything,” he says.
2. Melania Told CNN That Her Husband Is a Gentleman & Accused the Media & Clintons of Working Together
CNN reports that Melania told Cooper that she had not heard Trump use similar language before in private. “No. No, that’s why I was surprised, because I said like I don’t know that person that would talk that way, and that he would say that kind of stuff in private,” she told Cooper, according to CNN.
In clips released by CNN, Melania describes Donald Trump as a gentleman and says she believes that the Clintons and media are working against him.
She said she didn’t expect the media to be “so dishonest and mean.”
She also said she was proud of partially naked pictures she had taken in the past and said she was proud of her body and it was done as art.
After the release of the Billy Bush tape, Melania released a written statement that said she considered the words “unacceptable and offensive” but adding that the words did “not represent the man that I know.”
She also wrote that she had forgiven Trump and hoped the public would too. That was her sole comment on the tape controversy before the Cooper interview.
3. Melania Said She Did Not Consider Her Husband’s Comments to Bush ‘Sexual Assault’ & Called Sexual Assault Allegations Against Trump ‘Lies’
“No, that’s not sexual assault,” Melania said to Cooper about the Bush tape remarks. “He didn’t say he did it.”
CNN added that Melania Trump said she has seen Trump reject advances from women who approach him even in front of her.
Of course, Trump’s comments on the Billy Bush tapes are not the least of it. Since their airing, the Republican nominee has been hammered with a series of allegations from multiple women that he subjected them to unwanted physical contact, in some cases groping and other cases kissing. Melania called those allegations “lies,” says CNN, telling the network that she believes her husband’s denials and adding, “This was all organized from the opposition…did they ever check the background of these women? They don’t have any facts.”
Melania has remained largely silent about the allegations, other than to announce that her lawyer had sent a legal notice to People Magazine demanding a retraction of a claim by accuser Natasha Stoynoff about an alleged encounter Stoynoff says she had with Melania after she alleges Trump made an unwanted physical advance. Melania denies that encounter occurred. Stoynoff was writing a feature story about the Trumps when she claims Trump moved on her, which he denies.
CNN’s pre interview releases did not mention whether Melania commented on any of the many allegations by women against Trump. This article will be updated as more information is released.
Some of the women, including Stoynoff, claim that Trump subjected them to unwanted physical contact after Trump’s marriage to Melania. Indeed, Stoynoff claims that Melania Trump was pregnant with the Trumps’ son, Barron, when she alleges Trump began kissing Stoynoff without her consent When Melania left the room.
“We walked into that room alone, and Trump shut the door behind us,” she wrote. “I turned around, and within seconds, he was pushing me against the wall, and forcing his tongue down my throat.”
The Trumps married in a star-studded affair on January 22, 2005. That has heightened interest in what Melania’s reaction to all of the claims will be.
4. Melania Said She Would Work to Combat Cyber Bullying as First Lady
Anderson Cooper has also teased some aspects of the interview with Melania on the air, including saying that Melania would want to fight against cyber bullying as First Lady.
Melania told Cooper that negativity on social media can be harmful to women and children.
5. Melania Says She & Trump Have a ‘Great Relationship’
Melania also discussed her marriage with Trump, describing it as great and strong.
In a series of tweets, Trump has adamantly denied the allegations of sexual assault, although he has apologized for the Billy Bush comments, while also referring to them as lockerroom talk.
He has also accused the media of rigging the election by hammering him with unproven allegations, and he has tried to shift attention to past accusations women have made against former President Bill Clinton.
Donald Trump has also accused the media of bias for highlighting unproven allegations and has fought back hard at specific claims. For example, he released an email showing that accuser Summer Zervos had written him a positive email in April, and her cousin has said Zervos spoke positively about Trump until he declined an invite to come to her restaurant.
Trump has accused the news media of trying to “rig” the presidential election with the series of accusations that have dominated news coverage the past few days.