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Trump courts the fury of women voters

Donald Trump already had political difficulties with women voters before his now-infamous banter about sexual assault went viral on the Internet. Now, as more women have stepped forward with specific allegations against him, he's encountered a wave of female revulsion that he may be unable to survive.

Donald Trump already had political difficulties with women voters before his now-infamous banter about sexual assault went viral on the Internet. Now, as more women have stepped forward with specific allegations against him, he's encountered a wave of female revulsion that he may be unable to survive.

Hillary Clinton promptly and predictably used the new revelations of her opponent's unsolicited groping and kissing to rally her millions of sisters to make her the first woman president. And she gained an impassioned alliance with first lady Michelle Obama.

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Ms. Obama's electrifying speech Thursday in New Hampshire called on women regardless of party to defend themselves against the behavior and the attitudes Mr. Trump alluded to in his marginalizing remarks caught on video.

"This is not normal. This is not politics as usual," she said. "This is disgraceful, it is intolerable, and it doesn't matter what party you belong to, no woman deserves to be treated this way. ... None of us deserves this kind of abuse." She added: "I can't stop thinking about this. It has shaken me to my core. ... We simply cannot endure this or expose our children to it any longer, not for another minute, let alone another four years. Now is the time to stand up and say enough is enough."

On the heels of those remarks, Mr. Trump struck back at a political rally in West Palm Beach, alleging collaboration against him between the Clinton campaign and the news media, principally the New York Times.

New reporting by the newspaper whose slogan is "All the news that's fit to print" has given new legs to the 11-year-old account caught on camera of Mr. Trump bragging in vile terms of assaulting women. Times reporters found two such women who volunteered he had groped them, and interviewed friends who said they had so informed them of it at the time.

Mr. Trump immediately pounced, charging that the Times had offered no proof and telling his Florida audience that the alleged assaults never happened and that this outrage "could be part of the lawsuit we are preparing against them." Other newspapers have since detailed similar accounts from more women.

Mr. Trump has repeated his intention, if elected, to have his attorney general investigate and imprison Hillary Clinton for lying about her failure to release emails from her private server.

Playing on a previous remark she made against his supporters, Mr. Trump said: "Anyone who challenges them is deemed a sexist, a racist, a xenophobe and morally deformed. ... They will attack you, they will slander you, they will seek to destroy your career and your family." Gesturing toward the press area, he added: "They will lie, lie, lie, and they all do worse than that."

Mr. Trump also lamented that major news outlets were giving short shrift to another batch of Clinton emails made public by the anti-secrecy Wikileaks site, suggesting more coziness with Wall Street. Many newspapers and television networks and cable outlets, however, have widely reported them, and not just Fox News, a staunch Trump supporter,

The latest revelations have not generated nearly the public outrage that Mr. Trump's open boasting of his sexual escapades and disrespect of young women has stirred. Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook has suggested the Trump campaign may be involved in the timing of the email releases, but also with no proof.

Polls in various states have indicated that women voters, particularly those with a college degree, have overwhelmingly rejected Mr. Trump's candidacy, leaving him to depend heavily on blue-collar white men, who are prevalent at his political rallies.

Mr. Trump's pledge that he would produce evidence to refute those who have accused him of sexual assault may turn out to be in the same category as his income tax returns, which remain undisclosed.

He has said he will make them public once ongoing tax audits are completed. Although the Internal Revenue Service says such audits don't bar their release, Mr. Trump clings to that alibi. It remains to be seen whether he will find a similar alibi for withholding the supposed proof refuting the allegations of his latest accusers.

Jules Witcover is a syndicated columnist and former long-time writer for The Baltimore Sun. His latest book is "The American Vice Presidency: From Irrelevance to Power" (Smithsonian Books). His email is juleswitcover@comcast.net.

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