On 7 October 2016, the Washington Post released a 2005 recording of Donald Trump’s having made several lewd remarks about woman — including using the phrase “grab them by the pussy” — to Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush. While several Republican politicians denounced the presidential candidate for these comments, some of Trump’s supporters attempted to point out the hypocrisy of this controversy by claiming that U.S. President Barack Obama had once said something similar.
The Trump supporters’ counter-claim involved a video seemingly showing Obama demanding “ribs and pussy too” that was circulated on social media along with several false or misleading claims. For instance, it wasn’t a “breaking” or newly released video, and it did not capture Obama “demanding” anything:
Although the clip is real, it doesn’t document an off-the-cuff remark made by Obama demanding “ribs and pussy too.” Rather, this footage was taken from Obama’s appearance on the show “The Author Series” on 20 September 1995 (long before he ran for the presidency), in which he read excerpts from his book Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. The full clip shows that Obama was describing a conversation he had with someone else about Malcolm X’s beliefs, and that the “ribs and pussy too” line was spoken by another character in the book.
You can watch the full episode below (the relevant segment starts at the 15:00 mark):
One of the guys sitting nearby must have overheard us because he leaned over with a sagacious expression on his face.
“You guys talking about Malcolm? Malcolm tells it like it is. No doubt about it.”
“Yeah,” another guy said. “But I’ll tell you what. You won’t moving to no African jungle anytime soon. Or some goddamn desert somewhere sitting on a carpet. With a bunch of Arabs. No sir. You won’t stop me eating no ribs, either. Gotta have them ribs. And pussy too. Don’t Malcolm talk about no pussy. Now you know that ain’t gonna work.”
I noticed Ray laughing and looked at him sternly.
“What are you laughing at?” I said to him. “You never even read Malcolm. You don’t even know what he says.”