Politics

Newt Gingrich Revealed What Trump Supporters Aren't Getting About the 'Trump Tapes'

On Tuesday, Megyn Kelly and Newt Gingrich got into a heated debate on "The Kelly File" when Kelly suggested Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump may be a sexual predator — and Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House — exploded in anger.

Kelly was discussing the fallout of Trump's leaked "Access Hollywood" tape, in which the presidential nominee said "I just start kissing [women] ... Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything ... Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything."

The debate begins when Gingrich states that "the three major networks spent twenty-three minutes attacking Donald Trump that night." He accused the media of being "biased" against Trump.

Kelly responded that the story was worth serious media attention, given both the "Access Hollywood" tape, as well as the string of sexual harassment allegations made against Trump by 11 different women. Trump has denied any wrongdoing. 

"If Trump is a sexual predator," Kelly began to say, before being cut off by Gingrich.

"He's not a sexual predator! ... I am sick and tired of people like you, using language that's inflammatory that's not true ... It's VERY unfair of you to do that, Megyn," Gingrich said.

Kelly responded: "What I said is 'if Trump is a sexual predator,' it's a big story." She then points out that it was Trump's own language on the tape that lead to this very discussion. "Then we saw ten women come forward [accusing Trump of sexual assault]," she added.

Gingrich responded.

"You are fascinated with sex."

But here's the issue: there is a major difference between sex and sexual assault.

Gingrich either doesn't understand this distinction or is being purposefully obtuse on this issue. There's sex, and there's sexual assault, and Trump's scandals aren't mere sex scandals; they're sexual assault allegations. Seeking to determine if a presidential candidate is a sexual predator does not mean one is "fascinated by sex."

Gingrich's claim that Kelly is "fascinated with sex" is reminiscent of arguments made by commentators looking to downplay Trump's comments in the Access Hollywood Tape by comparing his words to those of pop musicians. In just one example, Trump supporter and former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey told CNN's Don Lemon that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's condemnation of Trump is hypocritical, given that the former first lady is a fan of Beyoncé.

"Hillary Clinton expresses that she finds the language on that bus horrific, but in fact she likes language like this, quote, 'I came to slay b----, when he 'F' me good I take his a-- to Red Lobster,' that happens to be line from Beyoncé, her favorite performer, whom she says she idolizes and says she would like to imitate," McCaughey said.

Both Gingrich and McCaughey's arguments hinge on the notion that media members and the public are "fascinated" or offended by the sexual nature of Trump's words, and not that Trump was describing behavior that amounts to sexual assault.

As Kelly points out, that is why people, particularly women, care about the story.

"You know what, Mr. Speaker, I'm not 'fascinated by sex.' But I am fascinated by the protection of women, and understanding what we're getting in the oval office, and I think the American voters would like to know ... it's not about me, it's about the women and men of America. And the poll numbers show us that the women of America in particular are very concerned about these allegations ..."

You can watch the full clip below.