A day after rescinding Donald Trump’s invitation to a rally in Wisconsin, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Saturday never mentioned the Republican presidential nominee’s name but acknowledged the controversy at the annual GOP gathering.
“There is a bit of an elephant in the room,” Ryan said told hundreds of Republican voters. “I put out a statement about this last night. I mean what I said, it’s still how I feel. But that is not what we’re here to talk about today.”
Hecklers started chanting Trump’s name and one screamed at Ryan, “You turned your back on us!”
Several California Republicans in tight House races joined politicians from across the country Saturday who said they cannot back Donald Trump any longer after hearing lewd remarks he made about forcibly kissing and touching women.
Rep. Steve Knight, the state's most vulnerable Republican, said Saturday he was "deeply disturbed" by the 2005 remarks.
"In my career as a law enforcement professional I was confronted with and worked tirelessly to end the horrific reality of violence toward women. After hearing Donald Trump's inexcusable comments last night I was deeply disturbed & reminded of that reprehensible behavior," the Palmdale Republican said in a statement.
“Entertainment Tonight” co-anchor Nancy O'Dell, the woman who was the focus Donald Trump's lewd comments in a 2005 audio recording, said Saturday she was saddened by the Republican nominee's comments.
"When I heard the comments yesterday, it was disappointing to hear such objectification of women," O'Dell said in a statement. "The conversation needs to change because no female, no person, should be the subject of such crass comments, whether or not cameras are rolling. Everyone deserves respect no matter the setting or gender."
O'Dell said "as a woman who has worked very hard to establish her career, and as a mom, I feel I must speak out with the hope that as a society we will always strive to be better."
Paul Ryan, the highest ranking elected Republican, appeared at a campaign event Saturday in his home state of Wisconsin and immediately said he wouldn't talk about Donald Trump. A night earlier, Ryan condemned the latest crude remarks of Trump's to emerge and said that Trump would not be attending the campaign event, as had been planned.
The first few Republicans who called on Donald Trump to quit the presidential race were not an entirely unexpected group.
Several were already Trump holdouts, such as Sen. Mike Lee in religious and conservative Utah, where voters are skeptical of the thrice-divorced Trump, and Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona. Neither had endorsed the nominee.
They were joined quickly by Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, already a de facto leader in the Never Trump movement, who tweeted early Saturday: "Step aside and let Mike Pence try."
Melissa Batchelor Warnke, a contributing writer to Opinion, had this to say today about the Republican presidential nominee:
The truly revelatory aspect of the video that emerged Friday of Donald Trump commenting casually about groping women is that it shows Trump in the environment that enables his behavior. There are two characters in the video that we’ve seen time and again: a dude kissing his rings and a woman leaning into her own objectification.
As a surge of Republicans call for Donald Trump to step aside, election wonks are combing through GOP rules to see how, exactly, that would work.
The one to know is Rule 9.
Under Republican National Committee rules, the party has no authority to unilaterally dump the nominee. An attempt to change the rules would be “really unprecedented and probably create a civil war and lawsuits,” said one GOP elections expert, who requested anonymity to speak frankly.
Voters attending a fall festival in Elkhorn, Wis., on Saturday were disappointed — some downright hostile — that House Speaker Paul D. Ryan rescinded an invitation to Donald Trump to speak here after a recording emerged of the GOP presidential nominee making vulgar comments about women.
“Paul Ryan sucks!” chanted Paul Anderson, who drove nearly an hour from Milwaukee to hear Trump speak.
Holding a sign that said “Hillary Clinton is a criminal,” Anderson said he thought Ryan wanted Clinton to win the White House.