Republican Rep. Mike Coffman and Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado are among GOP members of Congress telling Donald Trump he should step aside as their party’s nominee for president.
Trump on Friday apologized for lewd comments he made about women in 2005 but said that his “foolish” words are much different than the words and actions of former President Bill Clinton, whom he accused of abusing women, and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, whom he accused of having “bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims.”
Trump’s apology came more than eight hours after the Washington Post reported a lewd conversation about women that Trump had in 2005 with Billy Bush, then of “Access Hollywood,” that was caught by a hot microphone. During the conversation, Trump bragged about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women, including a married woman, saying that “when you’re a star, they let you do it.” The tape was recorded several months after Trump married his third wife, Melania.
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton and state Rep. J. Paul Brown are sticking with Trump.
“It’s unacceptable and he must sincerely and directly apologize to all women. That said, this is the reality: It is too late to replace anyone on the ballot and we have two flawed candidates for president,” Tipton, of Cortez, said in a statement to The Durango Herald. Tipton is in an election race with Democrat Gail Schwartz.
Brown, of Ignacio, said, “It was stupid for him to do that and certainly I do not support anything like what he said, but I’m still concerned about Supreme Court justices that will be appointed by the president, and I think he will appoint people closer to who I would like to see on the Supreme Court, as opposed to Hillary.”
Coffman, who is being challenged for his seat in Congress by Democrat Morgan Carroll, called Trump’s comments “vile.”
“For the good of the country, and to give the Republicans a chance of defeating Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump should step aside,” Coffman said in an email Friday to The Denver Post.
Gardner used Twitter to get register his unhappiness with Trump, stating, “I cannot and will not support someone who brags about degrading and assaulting women.”
“I will not vote for Donald Trump, Gardner tweeted. “If Donald Trump wishes to defeat Hillary Clinton, he should do the only thing that will allow us to do so – step aside and allow Mike Pence to be the Republican Party’s nominee.”
Gardner said he’d write-in his vote for Pence.
Republican Darryl Glenn, who’s running against incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, issued a statement Saturday that said, in part:
“Donald Trump is simply disqualified from being commander in chief – America cannot have a man who speaks this way about women be the face of our country to the Free World. I am therefore calling on Donald Trump to do the honorable, selfless thing – voluntarily step aside and let Mike Pence be our party’s nominee.
The Associated Press reported that GOP vice presidential nominee Pence was “offended” by Trumps remarks “and cannot defend them.”
After the debateOn Monday, Pence gave a series of television interviews, urging Republicans to stand behind Trump.
“This is a choice between two futures,” Pence said. “I’m honored to be standing with him.”
Also on Monday, House Speaker Paul Ryan told his party in a conference call he is focusing on ensuring Hillary Clinton doesn’t get a blank check as president with a Democratic-controlled Congress, suggesting he doesn’t believe Trump can win.
Pro-Trump GOP House members in the conference calls pushed back and said Trump can still prevail. One conservative called Ryan and other Republican leaders “cowards,” according to a source who demanded anonymity in order to comment.
Trump’s responseTrump on Friday confirmed that he engaged in the conversation and said in a 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.”
In a videotaped midnight apology, Trump said, “I was wrong, and I apologize.” He dismissed the revelations as “a distraction” from a decade ago.
Trump said he won’t quit the race. He told The Washington Post on Saturday, “I’d never withdraw. I’ve never withdrawn in my life.”
“I’ve never said I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone that I’m not. I’ve said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more than a decade-old video are one of them. Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize,” Trump said.
“I’ve said some foolish things, but there’s a big difference between the words and actions of other people. Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims,” Trump said.
The presidential debateIn Sunday night’s televised presidential debate, Hillary Clinton declared that Trump’s comments reveal “exactly who he is” and prove his unsuitability to be president. Trump accused her of attacking women involved in Bill Clinton’s affairs and promised she would “be in jail” if he were president.
Trump called her a “liar” and the “devil” and said she had “tremendous hate in her heart.”
He acknowledged for the first time that he had paid no federal income taxes for many years, and denied that had ever kissed and grabbed women without their consent. He repeated that his words in 2005 were merely “locker room talk.”