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PM condemns "loathsome" Trump comments

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has labelled Donald Trump’s comments about women “loathsome”, saying they are rightfully being condemned.

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But one crossbench senator believes people should cut the US presidential hopeful some slack, saying he is simply a man of his times.

Trump’s campaign is in damage control following the release of tapes in which the Republican nominee was heard making lewd remarks.

“They deserve the absolutely universal condemnation that they’ve received,” Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

Minister for Women Michaelia Cash said the comments were “demeaning, they were disappointing and they were wrong, full stop”, while new Labor MP Emma Husar labelled Mr Trump a “pig”.

“He’s an absolute repugnant animal who deserves to have every single Republican who is well-respected over there walk away from him,” she said.

However Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm noted that Trump was 70 years old and such remarks – although pretty distasteful – used to be a lot more common.

“He’s a man of his times perhaps, so perhaps you could cut him a little bit of slack,” the senator said.

“A lot of nasty things are said about men too.”

Leyonhjelm said the more important question was whether it affects his ability to be a good president.

“You can’t really tell that from the fact that he’s a misogynist.”

Deputy Prime Minister Barnarby Joyce, while labelling Trump’s comments as unacceptable, criticised both the Democrats and Republicans for digging up dirt from each other’s past.

“I just think this whole debate in the United States is turning into a dirty, filthy concoction which belies the respect the American people deserve,” he told ABC radio.

“They’re all digging up rubbish from each other’s past and I just think the whole thing is pretty unsavoury.”

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson and fellow crossbench senator Derryn Hinch clashed over Trump’s comments in the corridors of Parliament House after a regular television spot.

Hinch said it was disgraceful Hanson could support Trump, especially as a woman, describing him as a “sexual predator”.

“I didn’t condone what he said,” she replied.

Meanwhile, in a US presidential debate filled with tension, Trump has accused Hillary Clinton of attacking women involved in her husband’s marital affairs.

Staring icily at her Republican rival, Clinton said Trump’s own aggressively vulgar comments about women had revealed “exactly who he is”.

Answering for his words for the first time, Trump denied that he had ever kissed and grabbed women without their consent. He said repeatedly that his words in 2005 were merely “locker room talk” and paled in comparison to what he called Bill Clinton’s abuse of women.

“She should be ashamed of herself,” Trump declared.

Ahead of the debate, the businessman met with three women who accused the former president of sexual harassment and even rape, then invited them to sit in the debate hall.

Bill Clinton never faced any criminal charges in relation to the allegations, and a lawsuit over an alleged rape was dismissed. He did settle a lawsuit with one of the women who claimed harassment.

On the debate stage, Clinton did not respond directly to Trump’s accusations about her husband or her own role, but was blistering in her condemnation of his predatory comments about women in the tape released on Friday.

“I think it’s clear to anyone who heard him that it represents exactly who he is,” she said, adding that she did not believe Trump had the “fitness to serve” as commander in chief.

The second debate was a town hall format, with several undecided voters sitting on stage with the candidates. The voters, all from the St. Louis area, were selected by Gallup.

The tension between Trump and Clinton was palpable from the start of their 90-minute debate, the second time they have faced off in the presidential campaign. They did not shake hands as they met at centre stage.

AAP/AP

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