Jeff Sessions, an actual US senator, says groping women's genitals is not sexual assault

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Donald Trump-supporting Republicans have been attempting gymnastic feats even Simone Biles couldn't land as they try to bend and twist their way out of condemning the leaked video of the Republican nominee bragging about grabbing women "by the pussy" and kissing them without their consent.

Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions pulled a muscle Sunday night in his attempt to dodge Trump's words, telling the Weekly Standard that he didn't "know what it meant" when Trump said he could grope a woman's genitals because he was famous.

"I don't characterize that as sexual assault," Sessions, who was the first sitting senator to endorse Trump, said. "I think that's a stretch. I don't know what he meant."

After Sessions' comments took off, Sessions clarified what he meant in a statement to Mic.

"The Weekly Standard's characterization of comments I made following Sunday's Presidential debate is completely inaccurate," Sessions said. "My hesitation was based solely on confusion of the contents of the 2005 tape and the hypothetical posed by the reporter, which was asked in a chaotic post-debate environment. I regret that it resulted  in an inaccurate article that misrepresented my views. Of course it is crystal clear that assault is unacceptable. I would never intentionally suggest otherwise.?"

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the definition of sexual assault is "any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient."

Types of nonconsensual sexual contact include "forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling and attempted rape," according to the DoJ.

In the leaked tape, Trump talks about how he doesn't wait for consent before he kisses or grabs women's genitals.

"I've got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her," Trump said in the tape. "You know I'm automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait."

"When you're a star, they let you do it," Trump continued. "You can do anything."

"Grab them by the pussy," he added. "You can do anything."

Oct. 11, 2016, 1:04 p.m.: This post has been updated.

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Emily C. Singer

Emily C. Singer, née Cahn, is a senior writer for Mic covering politics. She is based in New York and can be reached at esinger@mic.com

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