A growing number of prominent Republicans withdraw support or condemn Trump — here’s who is speaking up
The release of a recording of Donald Trump bragging about groping women drew harsh statements from both Republicans and Democrats condemning the GOP presidential nominee.
Some who spoke up had already said they would not vote for Trump, but others withdrew their support in the hours after the video was released.
There were also calls for him to step down. Here’s what some politicians and prominent figures had to say:
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence
"As a husband and father, I was offended by the words and actions described by Donald Trump in the 11-year-old video. I do not condone his remarks and cannot defend them. ... We pray for his family and look forward to the opportunity he has to show what is in his heart when he goes before the nation tomorrow night."
The back story: Pence joined the ticket as Trump’s running mate this summer. He earned accolades for his performance against Tim Kaine in the vice presidential debate, but many noted he did little to defend his running mate. The day after the release of the video, Pence was a no show at a Wisconsin event where he was supposed to fill in for Trump. His campaign schedule was changed to read: “Please check back later for an updated schedule.”
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan
“I am sickened by what I heard today. 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.”
The back story: In recent months, Ryan, who is still supporting Trump, has criticized the GOP nominee for making what he called "the textbook definition of a racist comment.” He was referring to Trump's argument that the Mexican ancestry of an Indiana-born judge made it impossible for him to preside impartially over a federal fraud suit against Trump University, the nominee's defunct real estate education program.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
"There are no excuses for Donald Trump’s offensive and demeaning comments. No woman should ever be victimized by this kind of inappropriate behavior. He alone bears the burden of his conduct and alone should suffer the consequences.” [Oct. 7]
"In addition to my well known differences with Donald Trump on public policy issues, I have raised questions about his character after his comments on Prisoners of War, the Khan Gold Star family, Judge Curiel and earlier inappropriate comments about women. Just this week, he made outrageous statements about the innocent men in the Central Park Five case…
I have wanted to support the candidate our party nominated. He was not my choice, but as a past nominee, I thought it important I respect the fact that Donald Trump won a majority of the delegates by the rules our party set. I thought I owed his supporters that deference.
But Donald Trump’s behavior this week, concluding with the disclosure of his demeaning comments about women and his boasts about sexual assaults, make it impossible to continue to offer even conditional support for his candidacy. Cindy, with her strong background in human rights and respect for women fully agrees with me in this.
Cindy and I will not vote for Donald Trump. I have never voted for a Democratic presidential candidate and we will not vote for Hillary Clinton. We will write in the name of some good conservative Republican who is qualified to be President." [Oct. 8]
The back story: McCain’s backing of Trump was never rock solid. Trump suggested earlier in the campaign that McCain should not be considered a war hero for being captured during his service in Vietnam.
Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
“For the first time since I became a citizen in 1983, I will not vote for the Republican candidate for President. … But as proud as I am to label myself a Republican, there is one label that I hold above all else - American.”
The back story: Schwarzenegger this year took over as host of NBC's "The Apprentice," the show that made Trump a reality star. In his statement, Schwarzenegger did not back another candidate. He has never voiced support for Trump. Schwarzenegger faced allegations of sexual harassment when he ran for governor during the 2003 recall election. The allegations, first reported in The Times, included women who came forward to say he had groped them on movie sets. He ultimately beat sitting Gov. Gray Davis and a slew of other candidates.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.)
"His comments are totally inappropriate and offensive." [Oct. 7]
“I wanted to be able to support my party’s nominee, chosen by the people, because I feel strongly that we need a change of 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. I will not be voting for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton but instead will be writing in Governor [Mike] Pence for president on election day.” [Oct. 8]
The back story: Ayotte is up for reelection and had previously struggled to justify her support for Trump.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich
“Nothing that has happened in the last 48 hours is surprising to me or many others. Many people were angry and questioned why I would not endorse Donald Trump or attend the Republican Convention.”
The back story: Kasich has long been a foe of Trump’s, assailing his caustic rhetoric throughout the GOP primary. he’s remained steadfast in his opposition to Trump.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert
“Donald Trump's statements are beyond offensive & despicable. While I cannot vote for Hillary Clinton, I will not vote for Trump.”
The back story: Herbert had previously supported Trump.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)
“These comments are obviously very inappropriate and offensive and his apology was absolutely necessary"
The back story: Corker is on Trump's national security advisory council and is still supporting his candidacy.
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)
"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."
The back story: Capito had expressed reservations about Trump in the past but more recently had been supporting him. She is not up for reelection, and her state’s five electoral votes have gone to the GOP for the last four elections.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
"These comments are repugnant, and unacceptable in any circumstance. As the father of three daughters, I strongly believe that Trump needs to apologize directly to women and girls everywhere, and take full responsibility for the utter lack of respect for women shown in his comments on that tape."
The back story: McConnell, who spoke at the Republican National Convention, had previously said he planned to support the nominee. He has not withdrawn that support.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)
“Donald's comments were vulgar, egregious [and] impossible to justify. No one should ever talk about any woman in those terms, even in private.”
The back story: Rubio, who vied for the Republican nomination himself, had spoken harshly about Trump during the primaries. More recently he’s been actively campaigning for his former opponent, saying “the voters chose him.”
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush
“As the grandfather of two precious girls, I find that no apology can excuse away Donald Trump's reprehensible comments degrading women.”
The back story: At one time, Jeb Bush was considered a top contender for his party’s nomination. Instead, he faded fast. Bush has made it clear he’s not a Trump fan but has said neither that he will or will note vote for him. It’s worth noting that Bill Bush, the former “Access Hollywood” host also heard in the 2005 recording, is his first cousin.
Mitt Romney, 2012 Republican nominee
“Hitting on married women? Condoning assault? Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America's face to the world.”
The back story: Romney, his party’s nominee four years ago, has been the most prominent member of his party to actively denounce Trump. Romney had previously called Trump a “phony and a fraud.”
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.)
"It is never appropriate to condone unwanted sexual advances or violence against women. Mr. Trump must realize that it has no place in public or private conversations today or in the past."
The back story: McMorris Rodgers is the highest ranking GOP woman. Ahead of the May primary in Washington she endorsed Trump with the caveat that she wouldn’t shy away from criticizing him. She has not said she is withdrawing that support.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
“These comments are disturbing and inappropriate, there is simply no excuse for them.”
The back story: Cruz and Trump had numerous bitter exchanges during the primaries and Cruz did not endorse the nominee in his speech at the GOP convention. Trump has suggested Cruz’s father played a role in John F. Kennedy’s assassination and insulted Cruz’s wife. In September, Cruz surprised many by giving Trump a clear endorsement, giving a lengthy explanation. Bottom line: He thought Hillary Clinton was worse.
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.)
“[Trump] should drop out. GOP should engage rules for emergency replacement.”
The back story: Kirk made it clear prior to the new revelations that he would never vote for Trump.
Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.)
“For the good of the country, and to give Republicans a chance at defeating Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump should step aside. … Mr. Trump should put the country first and do the right thing.”
The back story: Coffman, who served in the Marines, previously said he would support Trump if he was elected but did not offer a clear endorsement of his candidacy.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah)
“I’m out. I can no longer in good conscience endorse this person for president. It is some of the most abhorrent and offensive comments that you can possibly imagine.”
“My wife, Julie and I, we've got a 15-year-old daughter. You think I can look her in the eye and tell her that I endorse Donald Trump for president when he acts like this?”
The back story: Chaffetz had been supporting Trump up until the release of the lewd audio and video.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah)
“Donald Trump is a distraction. It's time for him to step aside so we can focus on the winning ideas that will carry Republicans through to a victory in November."
The back story: Lee led the fight against Trump at the GOP convention.
Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.)
“We deserve a candidate that can ask themselves 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? ... I believe our only option is to formally ask Mr. Trump to step down."
The back story: Heck is in a tough Senate race against former Nevada Atty. Gen. Catherine Masto Cortez. He previously supported Trump.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)
“I cannot and will not support Donald Trump for president. He has forfeited the right to be our party’s nominee.”
The back story: Murkowski is up for reelection in Alaska and had previously indicated she would support Trump. She, along with her colleague in Alaska, Dan Sullivan, withdrew their support.
Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska)
“I’ve worked to encourage men to choose respect and change the culture of abuse against women and children, which is at epidemic levels in Alaska and many parts of the country. We need national leaders who can lead by example on this critical issue. The reprehensible revelations about Donald Trump have shown that he can’t.”
The back story: In recent months, Sullivan indicated he would support Trump. Yet after the release of the recordings of Trump making lewd comments, he, along with his colleague, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), withdrew their support.
“Enough! Donald Trump should not be president. He should withdraw. 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.”
The back story: Rice is a former secretary of State under George W. Bush’s administration and has for the most part remained out of the presidential campaign. She had not endorsed Trump.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin
“Going around media filters you clearly see one candidate offering a bold vision with solid plans to build a stronger, safer, greater America, while the career politician in the race offers only tired, sad, unsustainable, illogical ways of the past that will leave our children unsafe, broken and abused.”
The back story: Palin, who was John McCain’s running mate in 2008, has been an ardent supporter of Trump. She endorsed his campaign during the GOP primary and is not wavering in her support of his candidacy.
Rob Portman (R-Ohio)
“Donald Trump's comments were offensive and wrong. I had hoped to support the candidate my party nominated in the primary process. I thought it was appropriate to respect the millions of voters across the country who chose Donald Trump as the Republican Party nominee. While I continue to respect those who still support Donald Trump, I can no longer support him. “
The back story: In recent months, Portman has stressed that he would support whoever is the Republican presidential nominee. Yet whenever Trump traveled to his state to hold rallies, Portman was a no-show, often citing scheduling conflicts.
Additional images courtesy of the Associated Press, Getty Images and CQ Roll Call.
For more political news follow @kurtisalee
MORE ON TRUMP
4:01 p.m.: This article updates with Palin’s continued support and comments from Rice.
3 p.m: This article updates with Ryan’s statement and comments.
2:11 p.m. This article was updated with additional comments from McCain.
12:47 p.m.: This article was updated with additional background on Schwarzenegger’s 2003 run for governor and comments from Sullivan.
12:15 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from Schwarzenegger, Kasich and Heck.
11:12 a.m.: This article was updated with comments from Pence.
10:33 a.m.: This article was updated with reaction from Herbert and Moore Capito.
Oct. 8, 10:05 a.m.: This article was updated with Ayotte’s decision to withdraw her support, comments from Herbert and information about each person’s previous position.
10:10 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from Reps. Mike Coffman and Jason Chaffetz, and Sen. Mike Lee.
This article was originally published at 8:55 p.m., Oct. 7
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