Trump brushes off controversy as 'locker room talk'
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Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to hold virtual bilateral meeting with Mexican president More than 300 charged in connection to Capitol riot Trump Jr.: There are 'plenty' of GOP incumbents who should be challenged MORE denied that he ever sexually assaulted a woman and said that he was not condoning sexual assault in the bombshell audio released Friday. 
 
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The Republican presidential nominee describes in the 2005 tape how he could grope and kiss women without their consent because of his celebrity status, but when asked about those comments by CNN's Anderson Cooper at Sunday night's presidential debate, he said that was not what he meant.
 
"I didn’t say that at all. I don’t think you understand what was said. This was locker room talk. I am not proud of it and I apologize," Trump said. 
 
He went on to dismiss the discussion as unnecessary, saying there are more significant issues to face. 
 
"When we have a world where we have [the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] chipping off heads, drowning people in steel cages ... it's locker room talk and it's one of those things. I will knock the hell out of ISIS," he said.

Sunday's debate had always been high stakes, as Trump's supporters had hoped that a strong performance could give him a jolt of momentum after polls showed him losing the first debate late last month. 
 
But the debate has become the pivotal point of the 2016 election thanks to the intense blowback from Friday's release of video showing Trump using vulgar language about groping women. 
 
The outcry has been severe, as more than two dozen GOP lawmakers, including Senate Republican Conference Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGraham: Trump will 'be helpful' to all Senate GOP incumbents Cruz hires Trump campaign press aide as communications director Senate GOP works to avoid having '22 war with Trump MORE (S.D.), have called on him to step down as the party's nominee.
 
"With prior Republican nominees for president, I disagreed with them on politics, policy, principles, but I never questioned their fitness to serve. Donald Trump is different," Clinton said.

"What we all saw and heard on Friday was Donald talking about women, what he thinks about women and what he does to women. … It's clear to anyone who heard it that it represents exactly who he is."

Clinton then went on to run down a laundry list of Trump's most controversial comments throughout the campaign, connecting those comments to the lewd remarks in the video.

"It's not only women and it's not only this video that raises questions about his fitness to be president, because he has also targeted immigrants, African-Americans, Latinos, people with disabilities, Muslims," she said.

Trump followed up by arguing that his comments were "only words," chiding Clinton for telling New Yorkers she would bring back jobs to the state and failing. And he went on to attack Clinton for the sexual abuse allegations against her husband, former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonTrumpists' assaults on Republicans who refuse to drink the Kool-Aid will help Democrats The Jan. 6 case for ending the Senate filibuster Mellman: White working-class politics MORE, as well as for defending a man accused of raping a 12-year-old girl when she worked as a lawyer. 

Trump invited three of the women who have accused Clinton of sexual harassment or abuse to sit in the debate hall, as well as the woman whose accused rapist Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMedia circles wagons for conspiracy theorist Neera Tanden The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Senate ref axes minimum wage, House votes today on relief bill Democratic strategists start women-run media consulting firm MORE defended.