House Speaker and Miami grad Paul Ryan announced on Monday morning in a conference call that he will no longer be defending Donald Trump. According to The New York Times, Ryan clarified that he was not rescinding his endorsement, but instead would be focusing on defending congressional Republicans for the remainder of the presidential race.
Ryan is not the only Republican turning his back on Mr. Trump in the past week. Following the release of the much-discussed “lewd” video in which Mr. Trump was caught making what he calls “locker room” conversation with former NBC Today Show host Billy Bush (who was suspended indefinitely following the leak), Sen. Jon McCain officially withdrew his support on Saturday evening.
“There are no excuses for Donald Trump’s offensive and demeaning comments in the just released video; no woman should ever be victimized by this kind of inappropriate behavior,” McCain said in a statement he released this weekend. “He alone bears the burden of his conduct and alone should suffer the consequences.”
Sen. John Thune, Ohio’s own Sen. Rob Portman, Rep. Bradley Byrne and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, among droves of others, have all withdrawn their endorsements and said that they will be writing Gov. Mike Pence in on election day instead, who on Monday went back on the defense for Trump after a quiet weekend.
In case you missed it, the “lewd” (read: offensive, scary, predatory) video recorded Mr. Trump talking about how he “moves” on married women, how he tried to “fuck” one married woman and failed and that he better use some tic tacs before going out to meet Arianne Zucker because when he sees beautiful women he doesn’t wait for consent before engaging in sexual contact.
“I just start kissing them,” he said. “It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”
But perhaps the most appalling (read: disgusting, misogynistic, terrifying) part of the conversation was when he talked about the benefits of being a “star.”
“And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything,” he said. “Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”
Trump supporters, in their quickly dwindling numbers, say that in the candidate’s defense the remarks were just words and not actions. This is despite numerous accusations from women, including makeup artist Jill Harth and Trump’s ex-wife Ivana, of rape and sexual assault by Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, in perhaps the most important state involved in deciding the outcome of the election, Miami University has taken a firm stance on cracking down on sexual assault and doing what it can to eradicate rape culture on this campus.
When asked about Miami’s agenda to minimize the rape culture, Dean of Students Mike Curme said, “Our goal is to eliminate sexual and interpersonal violence on our campus.”
Miami is in the middle of strengthening its on-campus resources for victims. Dean Curme also remarked that “we are adding a couple of new staff members this fall — one who will focus on strengthening our education and prevention efforts, and another [through Women Helping Women] who will expand the confidential reporting and advocacy options available to our students, staff and faculty.”
For further action, Miami adopted the “It’s On Us” campaign in 2015, a movement created by President Obama.
It’s On Us’s main prerogative is “to create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.”
That means taking the steps to better understand the problems facing current victims and the inevitable future victims. That means educating everyone — not just victims — on what consent means. And that means calling out issues when they happen.
America has been slow to call out Trump’s issues with women when they happen. But the reality is that he has been perpetuating rape culture for a long time, in direct opposition to the efforts that Miami has been taking to destroy it at its core. When a presidential candidate is the one perpetuating these issues, there is no safe place for victims. There is no safe place for women.
Miami University has taken the initiative in beginning the fight for victims of sexual assault. The victims and women on this campus deserve more from a president than someone who will use his “star” status in the Oval Office to assault and degrade women.