WASHINGTON — A number of Republican leaders nationwide are beginning to revoke their endorsement of Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy after audio and video surfaced on Friday of Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women in 2005, including seeking to have sexual relations with a married woman.
“This is not a decision that I have reached lightly, but his pattern of behavior has left me no choice,” Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, said in a statement Saturday. “His repeated actions and comments toward women have been disrespectful, profane and demeaning.”
“I wanted to be able to support my party’s nominee, chosen by the people, because I feel strongly that we need a change in direction for our country. However, I’m a mom and an American first, and I cannot and will not support a candidate for president who brags about degrading and assaulting women,” also remarked Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.
The comments at issue, published by the Washington Post, were made to Billy Bush of “Access Hollywood” as the two traveled to meet soap opera star Arianne Zucker for a cameo set.
Trump, who unknowingly had a hot mic, discussed in graphic and vulgar terms how he can get away with groping women because “when you’re a star they let you do it” and “you can do anything.” He also discussed an attempt to have sexual relations with a woman who was married.
Christian News Network has chosen not to publish the remarks in full due to their extremely crude and profane content.
Trump admitted to the comments on Friday following the uproar, but dismissed them as being “locker room banter” and asserted that Bill Clinton has said much worse.
“This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course—not even close,” he said in a statement, adding, “I apologize if anyone was offended.”
Trump later released a video statement, remarking, “Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize.”
But he again minimized the situation, calling the issue a distraction.
“Let’s be honest, we’re living in the real world,” Trump said. “This is nothing more than a distraction from the important issues we’re facing today.”
However, some have stated that the matter is the last straw and have revoked their endorsement of Trump. A few called for Trump to withdraw and allow another candidate to take on Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.
“Mr. Trump should step aside. His defeat at this point seems almost certain and four years of Hillary Clinton is not what’s best for this country. Mr. Trump should do the right thing and put country first,” Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., said in a statement.
“As disappointed as I’ve been with his antics throughout this campaign, I thought supporting the nominee was the best thing for our country and our party,” also said Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala. “Now, it is abundantly clear that the best thing for our country and our party is for Trump to step aside and allow a responsible, respectable Republican to lead the ticket.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan dis-invited Trump from Saturday’s campaign event in Wisconsin.
“I am sickened by what I heard today,” Ryan said in a statement. “Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified.”