Donald Trump is apologizing and top Republicans are distancing themselves from the New York businessman after audio of lewd comments from 2005 surfaced of him once discussing his attempts at trying to “fuck” a married woman, among other vulgarities.
Several GOP lawmakers are now calling on Trump to step down as the party’s nominee for president.
“No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner,” said RNC chairman Reince Priebus said in an evening statement. “Ever.”
Trump had been scheduled to appear at the same event on Saturday in Wisconsin that House Speaker Paul Ryan and GOP Gov. Scott Walker planned to attend. But late Friday, Ryan disinvited Trump over the story.
“I am sickened by what I heard today,” Ryan said. “Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified. I hope Mr. Trump treats this situation with the seriousness it deserves and works to demonstrate to the country that he has greater respect for women than this clip suggests. In the meantime, he is no longer attending tomorrow’s event in Wisconsin.”
Walker, a former primary rival, said: “Inexcusable. Trump’s comments are inexcusable.”
A few Republican lawmakers have even rescinded their endorsements and called on Trump to drop out of the race. “@realDonaldTrump should drop out. @GOP should engage rules for emergency replacement,” Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, facing re-election, wrote on Twitter.
Utah Sen. Mike Lee, a close ally of Trump’s chief primary rival Ted Cruz, also encouraged Trump to withdraw. “I respectfully ask you with all due respect to step aside,” Lee said. “Step down.”
Appearing on CNN Friday, Utah Rep. Rep. Jason Chaffetz retracted his endorsement of Trump, saying: “I’m out. I can no longer endorse Donald Trump for president. There’s no possible way I vote for Hillary Clinton. But, these are abhorrent. They are wrong.”
He added: “I’m not going to put my good name and reputation, and my family behind Donald Trump for president when he acts like this. I just can’t — I just can’t do it.”
Cruz said Friday: “These comments are disturbing and inappropriate, there is simply no excuse for them. Every wife, mother, daughter — every person — deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.”
Another primary rival, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, said: “Donald’s comments were vulgar, egregious & impossible to justify. No one should ever talk about any woman in those terms, even in private.”
Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential candidate and a reliable critic of Trump, wrote on Twitter: “Hitting on married women? Condoning assault? Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America’s face to the world.”
Hitting on married women? Condoning assault? Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America’s face to the world.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) October 8, 2016
Video of Trump’s private conversations with “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush surfaced Friday in The Washington Post, just two days before the next debate.
“I did try and fuck her,” Trump is heard saying in the recording. “She was married, and I moved on her very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping. She wanted to get some furniture. I said, ‘I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture.’ I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there, and she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.”
Trump also said: “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful [women], 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. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”
In response to the story, Trump said in a Friday statement: “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. I apologize if anyone was offended.”
He also released a longer video early Saturday apologizing for what he said.
Here is my statement. pic.twitter.com/WAZiGoQqMQ
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2016