An avalanche of Republicans — many of whom have been critical of the candidate and opposed to him throughout the race — are now calling for Donald Trump to drop out of the presidential contest after the surfacing of sexual comments he made in 2005.
It’s unprecedented in recent political history for members of a major political party to call on its presidential nominee to drop out of the race just a month before election day. By Saturday afternoon, at least 25 current members of Congress were on the record asking Trump to leave the race.
South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the third-highest ranking member of the Republican leadership in the Senate, said Saturday: “Donald Trump should withdraw and Mike Pence should be our nominee effective immediately.”
“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,” Alabama GOP Rep. Martha Roby said in a Saturday statement. “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.”
Nebraska Republican Sen. Deb Fischer said: “The comments made by Mr. Trump were disgusting and totally unacceptable under any circumstance. It would be wise for him to step aside and allow Mike Pence to serve as our party’s nominee.”
Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan said Saturday: “As for the White House, Donald Trump should step aside. I will support Governor Mike Pence for president.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said: “I cannot and will not support Donald Trump for president. He has forfeited the right to be our party’s nominee.”
Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said Saturday: “These latest transgressions are so grave. I urge him to think about our country over his own candidacy and carefully consider stepping aside from the ticket.”
Nebraska GOP Sen. Ben Sasse, who has refused to endorse Trump, tweeted: “Character matters. @realDonaldTrump is obviously not going to win. But he can still make an honorable move: Step aside & let Mike Pence try.”
Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, facing re-election, wrote on Twitter: “@realDonaldTrump should drop out. @GOP should engage rules for emergency replacement.”
Utah Sen. Mike Lee, a close ally of Trump’s chief primary rival Ted Cruz, also encouraged Trump to withdraw in Facebook video. “I respectfully ask you, with all due respect, to step aside,” Lee said. “Step down.”
Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz on Friday retracted his endorsement and suggested he’d like Trump to withdraw. Asked on CNN if he thinks Trump should step aside, he said: “Well, I do wish that Mike Pence is at the top of the ticket. I really do.”
Alabama GOP Rep. Bradley Byrne said: “Donald Trump’s comments regarding women were disgraceful and appalling. There are absolutely no circumstances under which it would ever be appropriate to speak of women in such a way. It is now clear Donald Trump is not fit to be President of the United States and cannot defeat Hillary Clinton. I believe he should step aside and allow Governor Pence to lead the Republican ticket.”
Rep. Joe Heck, running for the U.S. Senate in Nevada, said at a rally in Las Vegas on Saturday: “My hope is that this will not divide us and that we can unite behind Republican principles. We deserve a candidate who can ask him or herself at the end of the day. ‘Did I live my life with honor and do I deserve to be elected president of the United States.’”
Colorado GOP Rep. Mike Coffman said: “For the good of the country, and to give the Republicans a chance of defeating Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump should step aside. His defeat at this point seems almost certain. And four years of Hillary Clinton is not what is best for this country. Mr. Trump should put the country first and do the right thing.”
West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said: “As a woman, a mother and a grandmother to three young girls, I am deeply offended by Mr. Trump’s remarks, and there is no excuse for the disgusting and demeaning language. Women have worked hard to gain the dignity and respect we deserve. The appropriate next step may be for him to reexamine his candidacy.”
Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock said: “This is disgusting, vile, and disqualifying. No woman should ever be subjected to this type of obscene behavior and it is unbecoming of anybody seeking high office. In light of these comments, Donald Trump should step aside and allow our party to replace him with Mike Pence or another appropriate nominee from the Republican Party.”
Utah Rep. Chris Stewart said: “I’m incredibly disappointed in our party’s candidate. And unlike the Democrats who have proven completely unwilling to hold secretary Clinton accountable for her illegal activities that endangered our national security, I am willing to hold Mr. Trump accountable. I am therefore calling for him to step aside and to allow Mike Pence to lead our party.”
Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo withdrew his endorsement of Trump and said: “Make no mistake—we need conservative leadership in the White House. I urge Donald Trump to step aside and allow the Republican party to put forward a conservative candidate like Mike Pence who can defeat Hillary Clinton.”
Other prominent Republicans called on Trump to leave the race too. “Enough! Donald Trump should not be President. He should withdraw,” said former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. “As a Republican, I hope to support someone who has the dignity and stature to run for the highest office in the greatest democracy on earth.”
Carly Fiorina, who ran against Trump in the primary, said Saturday: “Donald Trump does not represent me or my party…Today I ask Donald Trump to step aside and for the RNC to replace him with Gov. Mike Pence.”
Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt said Saturday: “For the benefit of the country, the party and his family, and for his own good, @realDonaldTrump should withdraw. More and worse oppo coming.”
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, a Republican candidate for president in 2012, said: “In a campaign cycle that has been nothing but a race to the bottom — at such a critical moment for our nation — and with so many who have tried to be respectful of a record primary vote, the time has come for Governor Pence to lead the ticket.”
According to party rules, the Republican National Committee would decide what to do if Trump were to leave the ticket.
“The Republican National Committee is hereby authorized and empowered to fill any and all vacancies which may occur by reason of death, declination, or otherwise of the Republican candidate for President of the United States or the Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States, as nominated by the national convention, or the Republican National Committee may reconvene the national convention for the purpose of filling any such vacancies,” reads the rules.
Trump is apologizing after audio of lewd comments from 2005 surfaced of him once discussing his attempts at trying to “fuck” a married woman, among other vulgarities. (RELATED: Trump Apologizes After Hidden Cam Video Surfaces Of Him Talking Lewd About Women)
Trump had been scheduled to appear at the same campaign event on Saturday in Wisconsin that House Speaker Paul Ryan and GOP Gov. Scott Walker planned to attend. But late Friday, Ryan disinvited Trump.
Ryan — who has had a tumultuous relationship with Trump — didn’t call on him to withdraw, but he did express disgust.
“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.”
The Republican National Committee has also distanced itself from Trump’s comments — but has not yet commented on the calls for Trump to step down.
“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 has released a longer video early Saturday apologizing for his comments.
Here is my statement. pic.twitter.com/WAZiGoQqMQ
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2016
Trump is set to debate Hillary Clinton at the second presidential debate in St. Louis on Sunday.
Trump says he isn’t going anywhere. He told the Washington Post on Saturday: “I’d never withdraw. I’ve never withdrawn in my life. No, I’m not quitting this race. I have tremendous support.”
As of Saturday afternoon, here are current Republican members of Congress calling on Trump to step down, as compiled by The Daily Caller:
1. Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo
2. Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer
3. Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner
4. Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk
5. Utah Sen. Mike Lee
6. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski
7. Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse
8. Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan
9. South Dakota Sen. John Thune
10. Alabama Rep. Bradley Byrne
11. West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito
12. Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz
13. Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman
14. Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock
15. Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis
16. Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent
17. Nebraska Rep. Jeff Forenberry
18. New Jersey Rep. Scott Garrett
19. Nevada Rep. Joe Heck
20. Texas Rep. Will Hurd
21. Utah Rep. Mia Love
22. Alabama Rep. Martha Roby
23. Utah Rep. Chris Stewart
24. Michigan Rep. Fred Upton
25. Missouri Rep. Ann Wagner