U.S. President Donald Trump reportedly told at least two people that he did not believe that the lewd audio recording of himself that had rocked his 2016 campaign was authentic.
On Nov. 26, Trump took to social media to indirectly support GOP candidate Roy Moore of Alabama for the U.S. Senate. Trump did not name Moore, who has been accused by several women of sexual harassment or assault, but instead blasted Moore's opponent, Democratic candidate Doug Jones.
"Can't let Schumer/Pelosi win this race," Trump tweeted out. "Liberal Jones would be BAD!"
Eight women have accused Moore of sexual misconduct. Beverly Young Nelson alleged that he sexually assaulted her in his vehicle when she was 16 years old in 1977. Leigh Corfman alleged that Moore molested her when she was 14 years old and he was 32 years old in 1979. Moore has denied the allegations, according to Time.
While Senate Republicans have called for Moore to step down from the Senate race in Alabama, Trump has publicly intimated that the allegations against the candidate are not true.
On Nov. 25, The New York Times reported that Trump was supporting Moore partly because the candidate's scandal reminded him of how his own campaign was damaged by allegations of sexual misconduct. The president had allegedly told a senator and an adviser that he believed that the "Access Hollywood" tape of him bragging about groping and kissing women was not authentic.
"You're reading it correctly," tweeted out Times journalist Maggie Haberman, who had contributed to the report. "It began in January and it hasn't been reported before."
In October 2016, The Washington Post obtained a 2005 audio recording of Trump caught on a hot microphone aboard a bus during a segment on "Access Hollywood." Trump could be heard in the recording telling host Billy Bush that he kissed and groped women without asking for consent.
"You know I'm automatically attracted to beautiful -- I just start kissing them," Trump told Bush. "It's like a magnet. 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 p***y. You can do anything."
Hours after the audio recording was published, Trump issued a video apology for the remarks. He did not deny that the voice heard in the recording was him.
"I said it, it was wrong, and I apologize ... 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.
Trump subsequently stated during a general election debate in October 2016 that he had never kissed or groped women without consent.
"Yes, I'm very embarrassed by it," Trump said of the remarks he made in 2005. "I hate it. But it's locker room talk ... Nobody has more respect for women than I do."
Following the debate, 13 women publicly alleged that Trump had sexually harassed or assaulted them. He denied all allegations.
The president has not publicly questioned the veracity of the 2005 recording.
On Nov. 27, White House spokesperson Lindsay Walters disclosed that Trump would not campaign on Moore's behalf in Alabama before the Dec. 12 special election, USA Today reported.
"There is nothing on the schedule at this time," Walters said.