Since comments from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump talking about groping women in an audio recording from 2005 surfaced earlier this month, the response from the Democratic Party has been a vocal and resonant denouncement.
At the Gateway on Thursday — preceding Trump’s Columbus campaign stop at a private rally downtown — state Rep. Kristin Boggs, whose district covers Ohio State’s campus and portions of the off-campus area, addressed the media alongside Chibundu Nnake, an Ohio State graduate and former walk-on football player, with comments of their own regarding respect for women and their support of former secretary of state and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Boggs, who said her district “includes all locker rooms at Ohio State,” said Trump’s comments about groping women because of his fame were offensive and disturbing, but not all that surprising.
“We would never let our children speak to people the way Trump has spoken to us,” Boggs said. “He is temperamentally unfit to be our president.”
Prior to joining the Ohio House of Representatives, Boggs worked at the Ohio attorney general’s office, where she worked on an initiative that addressed sexual assault on campus.
Nnake was a student at OSU from 2001-2005 and walked on to the football team his junior year. He currently works as a full-time organizer in Northwest Ohio for the Clinton campaign.
“Unlike Donald Trump, I’ve actually been in a locker room at Ohio State. I can tell you one thing about the locker rooms at OSU,” Nnake said. “They are nothing like the buses Donald Trump spends his time on.”
When Nnake’s parents immigrated to America from a small village in Nigeria, he said that he was taught from a young age the importance of respecting others, especially women. He said in the OSU football locker room, his teammates and coaches’ reinforced that culture.
“Coach (Jim) Tressel, he definitely emphasized respecting women and so the culture in the locker room reflected that. If you did anything that is disrespectful, you’re off the team immediately.” he said. “Words matter. If you’re saying something like that and people around you think that’s OK, that shows that, one, he’s perfectly fine cultivating that type of culture and two, he doesn’t really grasp … how impactful his words and his actions are.”
Nnake said his teammates and him talked about sports, game strategy, homework and classes — never disrespecting women.
Trump’s comments, his apology and follow-up stories regarding the comments have been present in the media and on the campaign trail over the course of the past week. At his event Thursday, he defended himself against a follow-up article from The New York Times in which two women accused him of touching them inappropriately.
“It’s a disgrace,” Trump said in reference to the Times article. “I’m getting battered by people I don’t even know.”
Boggs and Nnake each acknowledged a divide among the Trump supporters and those who support Clinton. Both Boggs and Nnake said Clinton would achieve real results and bring America together as president.
Boggs boasted about Clinton’s experience in affordable higher education, healthcare, national security and women’s rights for equal pay. Boggs also quoted poet Maya Angelou regarding Trump, saying “When someone shows you who they really are, believe them the first time.”
Jake Vasilj, president of OSU’s chapter of College Democrats and a third-year in political science, called the comments from Trump “horrific” and especially insulting to those who are survivors of sexual assault. Vasilj said that having someone from inside a locker room at OSU was important for the college democrats.
“(Nnake) spoke to a broader point that this isn’t locker-room talk, it’s sexual assault,” he said. “I think it’s really important for athletes to step up and say, ‘This is not a normalized thing.’”