Donald Trump apologized on Friday night for vulgar comments he made about women in a decade-old video, as he sought to move past a controversy that is threatening to derail his campaign.
“I’ve said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more than a decade-old video are one of them,” Trump said in a taped, minute-long video that was published on Facebook shortly after midnight.
“I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize,” Trump added.
The apology came roughly eight hours after The Washington Post published a 2005 video of Trump making deeply offensive comments about women during a conversation with then-Access Hollywood host Billy Bush.
Trump used lewd language in the recording to describe his attempts to sleep with a married woman, and bragged about using his celebrity status to kiss and grope women. House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republican leaders denounced the comments. At least one, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, withdrew his endorsement of Trump.
In his video statement late Friday night, Trump said that his comments in the 2005 video “don’t reflect” his views about women.
“Anyone who knows me knows those words don’t reflect who I am,” Trump said.
But the comments are in line with a long series of sexist remarks that Trump has made throughout his business career and current presidential campaign.
And after apologizing, Trump, sounding defiant as he spoke into the camera in the video statement, quickly pivoted to an attack on Hillary Clinton and her husband, saying that his past comments were “nothing more than a distraction from the important issues we’re facing today.”
Trump also took a shot at the Clintons.
“I’ve said some foolish things but there’s a big difference between the words and actions of other people,” Trump said. “Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims. We will discuss this more in the coming days.”
The controversy will dominate the news cycle over the weekend ahead of the second presidential debate in St. Louis on Sunday. Democrats joined Republicans in denouncing Trump. Clinton also chimed in.
“This is horrific,” Clinton said in a statement on Twitter. “We cannot allow this man to become president.”