A lot has been conjectured about the experience of Days of Our Lives actress Arianne Zucker, who was unwillingly thrust into the spotlight when audio of Trump salivating over her and declaring his commitment to non-consensual crotch-grabbing leaked on Friday.
In the tape, recorded in 2005, Trump talks about how much he likes assaulting women, then he and Billy Bush pull into the lot to be greeted by Zucker. Bush can be heard talking about Zucker’s legs, whipped into a chest-thumping frenzy of objectification. After they disembark, Bush appears to help Trump get a hug from an unsuspecting Zucker.
The whole exchange is enough to make your skin crawl off and slink into the ocean. Sadly, in an interview with The Today Show on Thursday, Zucker doesn’t seem particularly surprised to discover how she was spoken of by two rich guys on a bus. When asked if she was shocked, she says, “Not with that type of personality, I wasn’t shocked. Which is probably why it doesn’t mean a lot to me.”
Zucker talks calmly about wanting to turn this unexpected attention towards something positive, if that’s possible. She especially wants to teach her six-year-old daughter how to deal if something like this should ever happen to her. She probably means being objectified by men, because the singular lunacy of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is unrepeatable. Please, god.
Perhaps most unexpected is her lack of antagonism towards Billy Bush. When asked what she thought about how Bush appeared to be “egging on” Trump (a slightly impressive question, given that NBC—for now—employs Bush), Zucker says, “Who knows how he was feeling when he walked off the bus or what he needed to do in the relationship, because when he came off the bus along with Mr. Trump I had no feeling but, professional. That’s it.”
Despite her moderate response to the situation, she doesn’t go so far as to absolve Trump of anything. When asked if she accepted Trump’s broadcast apology she answered, “That was an interesting apology.”
And no, Trump has not reach out to speak with her directly.