Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani struggled to defend Donald Trump during a series of uncomfortable interviews Sunday morning, amid the uproar over a 2005 video in which Trump made controversial comments.
“You’re saying that the words are wrong. How about the actions?” Chuck Todd asked Giuliani on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“Well, the actions would be even worse if they were actions. Talk and action are two different things,” Giuliani said.
“I’m not implying it was made up. I said we’re talking about things that he was talking about. I don’t know how much he was exaggerating; I don’t know how much is true,” Giuliani added. “I certainly don’t know the details of it. But I do know that this is unfortunately the kind of talk that goes on among a lot of people and they shouldn’t talk about this.”
Giuliani was pressed on that point during a separate interview on ABC’s “This Week.”
“The problem isn’t just the words,” George Stephanopoulos told Giuliani on ABC’s “This Week.”
“…I do know there’s a tendency on the part of some men at different times to exaggerate things like this. I’m not in any way trying to excuse it and condone it,” Giuliani responded.
Giuliani also signaled that Trump had not ruled out using Bill Clinton’s scandals to attack Hillary Clinton during the second presidential debate.
During a tense exchange on CNN’s “State of the Union,” host Jake Tapper tore into the defense that Trump had merely engaged on “locker room” talk. Giuliani at one point suggested that many others have had similar conversations, which Tapper aggressively dismissed.
“…This is talk, and, gosh almighty, he who hasn’t sinned cast the first stone here,” Giuliani told Tapper.
Giuliani said on “Meet the Press” that Trump would definitely attend Sunday night’s debate and that he is “as prepared as he’s ever been.” He said that Trump feels bad and that he’d like to move beyond the controversy to turn his attention to an issue-focused campaign.
The former New York City mayor dismissed questions about whether last-minute changes to the campaign’s TV surrogates Sunday morning. Originally, campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus were supposed to appear on the shows.
Giuliani said that Trump was embarrassed by the comments.
“I think when he heard them, he was shocked. I’m not going to say that he didn’t remember them, but they probably weren’t at the top of his mind. And when he was confronted with it, he was pretty darn shocked that he had said such terrible things, and he feels terrible about it,” Giuliani said on “Meet the Press.” “He feels terrible for his family and how embarrassing it is for them; he feels terrible from his own point of view. But he also realizes he has a responsibility. And I think the last 14 months have driven that into him.”
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Jose A. DelReal