Meet the women who support Donald Trump, even after the #TrumpTapes release
Even the recently unearthed audio of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump joking about sexual assault may not be enough to change the hearts and minds of his most devoted female supporters.
During a recent segment on CNN, a focus group made up entirely of women is asked a fairly simple question:
"How many of you are willing to write this off as locker room banter, as Donald Trump says?" CNN reporter Randi Kaye asked.
Every woman in the room raises her hand, signaling that this group is composed entirely of a generally under-covered demographic: the women who excuse Trump's behavior.
"I have two brothers, my dad, military family ... I've heard words worse," says one woman in the room, Amy Hillock. "The word is a little derogatory. If he had said it, I wish he had said it a different way, but you know what? He wasn't saying it to females, he was saying it to men."
Hillock is referring to Trump's now infamous comments, caught on a hot mic during a 2005 Access Hollywood segment he was filming with then-correspondent Billy Bush, about not waiting for consent when kissing women, and how his fame allowed him to do anything he wanted, including "grab[bing] them by the pussy."
The women in CNN's focus group largely dismiss Trump's comments as "locker room talk," the same way he defended the comments during an apology video released after the tapes were leaked and during the second presidential debate on Sunday.
"I would be offended if a man said that in my presence. I do find the words offensive, but that's locker room talk," one woman, Michelle Werntz, says in the segment. "That's the boys' club."
Another woman, Dena Miller, adds that she didn't think Trump's comments were indicative of a negative attitude toward women in general.
"It was just a man being a man in a men's world, talking to men," she says.
When Kaye asked the women considered the comment to be a joke, they chorus a "Yeah!" — unanimous in their desire to move past what's been deemed by Trump supporters as a distraction from the real issues.
Most of the women in the video say they believe Trump gets a pass for the comments because they were made 11 years ago, before he had entered politics and the public spotlight.
While the responses in the video might bode well for Trump, the poll numbers are telling a different story.
According to a poll by PRRI/The Atlantic released on Tuesday, the deficit Trump is facing among likely female voters has only grown since the tapes were released, with only 28% of female voters saying that would vote for him. In comparison, 61% of female voters said that they'd lend their support to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
But even still, CNN's panel is proof that at least some of Trump's female supporters are unfazed by his recent comments.
"He understands the jeopardy and the risk that would be put in place," one of the women, Melanine Lorant, says in the clip. "He is out here to make a difference for our country."