Thirty six days to go before America’s new president is crowned, this week will decide who that will be.
A week of self immolation by Trump, a New York Times scoop of Trump’s $916 million in losses and the Apprentice crew saying Trump was lewd and sexist on the sets have all sent Clinton’s numbers spiralling upwards in new polls.
After the first debate at Hofstra and a string of missteps by Trump, Clinton's up on the overall national poll average by 2 points and leading Trump in a 4 way toss up including Gary Johnson and Jill Stein - the other two candidates who've not dropped out of the race. Betting odds continue to favor Clinton.
Women, taxes, pneumonia...
Alicia Machado, pneumonia, sex tapes, Trump’s tax returns, maybe Monica Lewinsky, what Trump said about female co-workers’ backsides - this is what the world’s most outsize election circus is getting high on after 8 months on the road and days before the second and penultimate presidential debate.
Soon after endorsing Clinton, The New York Times has scooped Trump’s tax returns showing a net loss of $915,729,293 in federal taxable income for the year - that’s about $916 million.
The Times said an anonymous person sent them the first pages of Trump's 1995 state income tax filings in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Clinton has pounced on it and released a new video saying “Donald Trump is a business failure who has gotten rich at your expense.”
The 30-second spot, titled "Arrogant," features a New York Times report from over the weekend that nearly $1 billion in Trump company losses in the mid-1990s may have enabled him to pay zero in federal income tax for 15-plus years.
"You work hard. You pay your taxes. So why didn't Donald Trump pay his?" a narrator in the Clinton ad asks. The spot concludes with footage of Trump saying during the debate last week, "That makes me smart," when Clinton blasted him for not paying income tax.
Finding no way to parachute out of this and egged on by his faithful minions who are telling him to “go be yourself, boss”, the latest high ground Trump is trying to occupy is suggesting that Hillary Clinton may have cheated on her husband.
The Donald is struggling to regain a foothold after his tweetstorm insulting a former Miss Universe Alicia Machado went horribly wrong. Trump called the former beauty queen "Miss Piggy" because she gained weight during her reign.
Now, former cast and crew members from the reality TV show "The Apprentice” are described Trump’s treatment of women on the sets as downright sleaze.
They are saying “Trump rated female contestants by the size of their breasts and talked about which ones he'd like to have sex with.”
Associated Press interviewed nearly 20 people who worked on the long running hit show Apprentice in which aspirants were given tasks to perform as they competed for jobs.
AP reports that eight former crew members recalled that he repeatedly made lewd comments about a camerawoman he said had a nice rear, comparing her beauty to that of his daughter, Ivanka.
During one season, Trump called for female contestants to wear shorter dresses that also showed more cleavage, according to contestant Gene Folkes. Several cast members said Trump had one female contestant twirl before him so he could ogle her figure.
Randal Pinkett, who won the program in December 2005 and who has recently criticized Trump during his run for president, said he remembered the real estate mogul talking about which female contestants he wanted to sleep with, even though Trump had married former model Melania Knauss earlier that year: "He was like 'Isn't she hot, check her out,' kind of gawking, something to the effect of 'I'd like to hit that.' “
The Trump campaign issued a general denial. "These outlandish, unsubstantiated, and totally false claims fabricated by publicity hungry, opportunistic, disgruntled former employees, have no merit whatsoever," said Hope Hicks, Trump's campaign spokeswoman.
"The Apprentice was one of the most successful prime-time television shows of all time and employed hundreds of people over many years, many of whom support Mr. Trump's candidacy." She declined to answer specific questions that were emailed and declined an interview request.
Former producer Katherine Walker said Trump frequently talked about women's bodies during the five seasons she worked with him and said he speculated about which female contestant would be "a tiger in bed.”
A former crew member who signed a non-disclosure agreement and asked not to be identified, recalled that Trump asked male contestants whether they would sleep with a particular female contestant, then expressed his own interest.
"We were in the boardroom one time figuring out who to blame for the task, and he just stopped in the middle and pointed to someone and said, 'You'd f... her, wouldn't you? I'd f... her. C'mon, wouldn't you?’"
At the first debate with Hillary Clinton, Trump said he stopped short of Bill Clinton’s history of sexual misconduct, but decided that would be wrong. “It's inappropriate. It's not nice," he said, noting that Clinton’s daughter was in the audience.
Brace for more Gennifer Flowers, Miss Universe, sex tapes and anatomy lessons from Trump in the final stretch.
With AP inputs on 'Apprentice'