I am a pretty careful person about some things. I choose my words carefully, especially in print. I went to law school and I understand slander, libel, and liability. Recognizing that public figures have lowered protection, I would still hesitate to say something that might not be true. For instance, when I say Tom Cotton is a traitor and a coward, I mean traitor in the general sense, not necessarily the strict constitutional sense. Yes, he did undermine the president in negotiating with a potentially hostile foreign power and it is also true that his actions probably gave that foreign power some advantage. But in the long run it amounted to nothing.

Calling someone a sex predator is really only safe if that fact is well established. In Trump’s case, yes. We have his own testimony:

TRUMP: You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful… I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything.”

BUSH: “Whatever you want.”

TRUMP: “Grab them by the pussy You can do anything.”

Then we have the testimony of 15 women who have accused him of:

non-consensual kissing, or non-consensual groping of breasts, buttocks and genitalia

Trump admitted, on the Howard Stern show, that he liked to walk into dressing rooms of women during beauty pageants that he owned, catching them partially or fully naked. He has been accused of doing this even in Miss Teen pageants and catching women as young as 15.

Finally, we have sworn grand jury testimony from Ivana Trump (as reported in the Daily Beast, based on the book:

Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump, by Harry Hurt III.

“Your fucking doctor has ruined me!” Trump cried.

What followed was a “violent assault,” according to Lost Tycoon. Donald held back Ivana’s arms and began to pull out fistfuls of hair from her scalp, as if to mirror the pain he felt from his own operation. He tore off her clothes and unzipped his pants.

“Then he jams his penis inside her for the first time in more than sixteen months. Ivana is terrified… It is a violent assault,” Hurt writes. “According to versions she repeats to some of her closest confidantes, ‘he raped me.’”

Following the incident, Ivana ran upstairs, hid behind a locked door, and remained there “crying for the rest of night.” When she returned to the master bedroom in the morning, he was there.

“As she looks in horror at the ripped-out hair scattered all over the bed, he glares at her and asks with menacing casualness: ‘Does it hurt?’” Hurt writes.

Following the deposition being sealed and a settlement of the case, Ivana has publicly denied that it was rape. She admitted to using the term in the deposition, but says she did not mean it in the criminal sense. However, the facts of the deposition have not been denied.

Trump supporters resort to hand-waving or whataboutism when confronted by these facts. They impugn the credibility of the 15 accusers, without much analysis, or claim that Bill Clinton did the same stuff. They try to dismiss the Access Hollywood tape as “locker room talk,” as if guys really sit around locker rooms bragging about rape, and the Howard Stern interview as “entertainment.”

But deep down, they must know it’s real. They must know they are damaging their own credibility, their own integrity, their own mental and spiritual health by defending a sex predator who is not only unrepentant, but actively threatening towards his victims.