Evangelical preacher and Christian Broadcasting Network host Pat Robertson offered a decidedly twisted take on the Washington Post's Friday release of a 2005 video showing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump bragging about how his fame enabled him to grope and kiss women with no repercussions.
Robertson, Raw Story reported, on Monday said the video in which Trump could be heard saying he grabbed women "by the pussy" only caught the nominee acting "macho."
"Trump was the winner" of Sunday's presidential debate, Robertson told his audience on the 700 Club. "Basically, the pundits were writing him off."
"A guy does something 11 years ago, it was a conversation in Hollywood where he's trying to look like he's macho," Robertson continued. "And 11 years after that they surface it from the Washington Post or whatever, bring it out within 30 days or so of the election and this is supposed to be the death blow and everybody writes him off, 'OK, he's dead. Now you've got to get out of the way and let Mike Pence run the campaign.'"
"The Donald says no," he concluded. "He's like the phoenix: They think he's dead, he's come back. And he came back strong. So, he won that debate."
To be clear, bragging about nonconsensual sexual contact is not a healthy expression of masculinity, but just plain old misogyny — and, seeing as multiple women have come forward saying Trump did in fact assault them in the manner described, it may constitute an admission of criminal behavior. Scores of high-profile Republicans have abandoned Trump in the wake of the video's release for those reasons.
While Robertson may find it easy to write off Trump's behavior, other evangelical leaders haven't. One of Trump's "most influential conservative Christian backers," Wayne Grudem, pulled his support for the nominee and said he regretted not denouncing his character earlier in a letter posted Sunday, the Wall Street Journal reported. Prominent female evangelicals including preacher Beth Moore and author Christine Caine have also said they can no longer support Trump.