Nancy O’Dell, the woman who Donald Trump referred to in a 2005 recording that leaked Friday, addressed the controversy on her first day at work since the revelation on “Entertainment Tonight” Monday.
“I feel that it’s very important that I address you all directly. As a journalist for 26 years now, it is my job to bring you news about others, rather than turning the focus on myself,” O’Dell stated at the start of the broadcast. “But by now, I’m sure that most of you have heard the audio tape which became national news and part of the presidential race. My name was mentioned and, unfortunately, the release of it has thrown me into the middle of the political arena of which I didn’t ask to be a part.”
In the tape, Trump told Billy Bush—a former Access Hollywood reporter, whose tenure at the show coincided with O’Dells—that he had attempted to seduce a married woman who rebuffed his advances.
“I moved on her and I failed. I’ll admit it,” Trump told Bush, who has since been suspended from his role as a Today show anchor since the tape was leaked. “I did try and f-ck her. She was married.”
Trump then went on to further detail his interaction with a woman who was later revealed to be O’Dell, saying, “And I moved on her very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping. She wanted to get some furniture. I said, ‘I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture.’”
Trump’s remarks, as well as his additional statements in the video in which he detailed being able to grope, kiss, and have sex with women just because he is famous, dominated both the news cycle and Sunday night’s debate. Though Trump offered a public apology, he defended his actions and dismissed them as “locker room talk.” As dozens of prominent Republicans publicly distanced themselves from the Republican nominee over the weekend, O’Dell also released a statement on Saturday saying she was “saddened that these comments still exist in our society at all.”
“It was disappointing to hear such objectification of women,” she added. “The conversation needs to change because no female, no person, should be the subject of such crass comments, whether or not cameras are rolling. Everyone deserves respect no matter the setting or gender.”
O’Dell echoed these sentiments on Monday night, and reiterated her call for greater respect for all people.
“I released a statement on Saturday and I truly mean what I said. There is no room for objectification of women, or anyone for that matter, not even in the ‘locker room,’” she continued. “The conversation has got to change because everybody deserves respect no matter the gender or setting. And as a mom, well I have to add that our kids—especially our young girls—need to know that their hard work, their achievements, their intelligence, their heart, are most important. And those things will not go unnoticed.”