It’s been less than 24 hours since a 2005 video of Donald Trump bragging about groping women created a political firestorm Friday afternoon. By Saturday morning, Republican elected officials were issuing “unendorsements” of Trump and calling for him to withdraw from the GOP ticket. It turns out that saying “grab ’em by the pussy” is one offensive comment too far for many Republicans. But those who did endorse Trump were overlooking a lot of other actions that had tainted Trump—and his supporters—since he announced his candidacy last year.
Here is just a sampling of the deplorable things Trump has said and done—and that Republicans now looking for a lifeboat had previously decided to overlook:
- Trump not only endorsed but enthusiastically championed the racist “birther” conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. He did not abandon this position or apologize for it when he entered the presidential race. It wasn’t until last month that Trump finally acknowledged Obama was born in the United States.
- Trump’s offensive comments about immigrants and people of Mexican heritage have been a major feature of his campaign. He called undocumented immigrants from Mexico rapists on the first day of his candidacy. “They’re bringing drugs,” he said. “They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” He never apologized. Trump later alleged that a US-born judge with Mexican heritage could not be fair to him because of Trump’s views on immigration.
- Trump suggested that Fox News’ Megyn Kelly treated him unfairly during a GOP primary debate because she was on her period. Perhaps not coincidentally, it was Kelly’s questions about Trump’s treatment of women—and particularly his habit of calling them “fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals”—that he objected to.
- Trump attacked Khizr and Ghazala Khan, Muslim Gold Star parents whose son died in the Iraq War. The Khans had appeared onstage at the Democratic National Convention; Khizr Khan blasted Trump’s proposal to bar all Muslims, including Muslim US citizens, from entering the United States. Following their appearance, Trump was particularly insulting to Ghazala Khan, suggesting that the grieving mother had stood silently alongside her husband at the convention because her Muslim faith did not allow her to speak in public. (Ghazala Khan later spoke publicly about the incident on MSNBC and published an op-ed in the Washington Post.)
- Trump has welcomed the support of the feverishly racist wing of the conservative movement. Perhaps the best example of this came when he refused for five days to condemn David Duke, the former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, who is supporting him. Not long afterward, Trump’s campaign allowed a leader of a white nationalist party to be a delegate for his campaign in California (until the story became national news). Even after these high-profile episodes, the campaign continues to wink and whistle at white supremacists. A white nationalist super PAC is today spending money to help elect him.
Trump’s latest comments about women are obviously out-of-bounds behavior. But many Republicans will now have to explain why they found his previously known comments and actions acceptable.