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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

By Emily Stephenson and Ginger Gibson

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – With his campaign in crisis, U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump vowed on Saturday to stay in the race despite calls from more than two dozen prominent Republicans for him to drop out following the release of a recording of him making lewd comments about women.

Both Trump’s wife and his running mate criticized his words, saying they were insulting and indefensible.

“The media and establishment want me out of the race so badly – I WILL NEVER DROP OUT OF THE RACE, WILL NEVER LET MY SUPPORTERS DOWN!” Trump wrote on Saturday afternoon on the social media website Twitter.

The video was the latest calamity for Trump, who had hoped to revive his flagging campaign in the face of a recent drop in polls with less than a month until Election Day.

Trump is due to appear alongside Democrat Hillary Clinton on Sunday in their second debate in the run-up to the general election. Clinton is not expected to address Trump’s video before then.

The 2005 video of Trump talking on an open microphone showed the then-reality TV star speaking about groping women and trying to seduce a married woman. The video was taped only months after Trump married his third wife, Melania.

In a statement, Melania Trump called her husband’s words “unacceptable and offensive to me.”

“This does not represent the man that I know,” she said. “He has the heart and mind of a leader. I hope people will accept his apology, as I have, and focus on the important issues facing our nation and the world.”

The backlash over the video was swift and widespread.

More than 60 prominent Republican current and former officeholders issued statements condemning Trump’s remarks about women, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and John McCain, the party’s standard bearer in 2008. More than 20 called for Trump to end his presidential bid.

In an unusual move, his vice presidential running mate Mike Pence issued a critical statement of Trump’s words, saying on Twitter that he “cannot defend them.”

“As a husband and father, I was offended by the words and actions described by Donald Trump,” said Pence, who is governor of Indiana.

Pence indicated he would continue to support Trump, despite calls from several Republicans for Trump to step aside and let Pence be the nominee.

There is no precedent for a major party to replace its nominee this late in the campaign and it was unclear if there was an avenue to force him out. Voting has begun in several states, including swing states Virginia and North Carolina.

A recorded apology by Trump early on Saturday did not stymie an avalanche of calls from members of his party to quit.

Trump huddled on Saturday in Trump Tower with senior advisers, including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Despite previous scheduling, Giuliani will appear on five major Sunday morning news programs, a rare round robin reserved for major news events – replacing Republican Chairman Reince Priebus on CBS’s “Face the Nation” and campaign manager Kellyanne Conway on “Fox News Sunday,” a last-minute switch. No reason was given for the bump of Conway. A CBS news release said the RNC asked to replace Priebus because Trump’s operation wanted “a campaign person” to appear on the program.

Trump left the building briefly to greet a small crowd of supporters, saying “100 percent” he would remain in the race. Before returning to a bank of elevators, he told reporters, “Tremendous support.”

He quickly moved to do damage control in Saturday’s video in which he declared himself a changed man and attempted to shift the focus to his opponent Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton. On Twitter, Trump posted critical statements from Juanita Broaddrick, a woman who has accused Bill Clinton of sexually assaulting her.

“Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize,” Trump said in his video statement, posted on his Facebook page.

Trump has struggled to win over women voters, and the video was expected to further feed Democratic criticism about his past behavior toward women. Trump’s support has suffered among suburban women and white, college-educated women, groups that Republicans have traditionally won.

In the recording that triggered the firestorm, Trump said of one woman, “I did try and fuck her. She was married.” He went on to discuss his attraction to others.

“I just start kissing them,” he said. “And when you’re a star they let you do it.”

“Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything,” Trump said.

On Saturday afternoon, CNN published a separate report detailing remarks Trump made over the course of several years while appearing on Howard Stern’s radio program.

The remarks included discussing the size of his daughter’s breasts and that he once had sex with three women at the same time. Trump was asked if he would have sex with a black woman and responded, “It depends on what your definition of black is.”

The remarks were the last straw for some Republicans who have stuck with him through a series of controversial remarks, including calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “criminals,” calling for a ban on Muslim immigrants, attacking a judge of Mexican descent, attacking the Gold Star family of a Muslim soldier killed at war and saying Senator John McCain was not a war hero because he had been a prisoner of war.

House Speaker Paul Ryan disinvited Trump to a scheduled appearance on Saturday in Wisconsin. Pence declined to speak in his place.

The list of Republicans announcing they would not vote for Trump or calling on him to step aside grew on Saturday: Senators Kelly Ayotte, Lisa Murkowsi, Dan Sullivan, Mark Kirk, Jeff Flake, John Thune, Mike Crapo, Shelley Moore Capito and Mike Lee; House members Jason Chaffetz, Mia Love, Joe Heck, Bradley Byrne, Martha Roby and Barbara Comstock; and Governors John Kasich, Dennis Daugaard and Gary Herbert.

Additionally, former presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Carly Fiorina and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called on Trump to quit.

“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,” McCain said in a statement.

While Democrats largely remained silent, opting to let Republicans attack one of their own, Vice President Joe Biden wrote on Twitter, “The words are demeaning. Such behavior is an abuse of power. It’s not lewd. It’s sexual assault.”

Some prominent Republicans indicated they would stick with Trump. Ralph Reed, head of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, and Tony Perkins, head of the conservative Family Research Council, said they would continue to support him.

“I think 10 years ago he was a different man,” said Representative Jack Kingston, a Republican from Georgia. “I am very glad that he quickly apologized.”

(Additional reporting by Grant Smith, Amy Tennery, Jeff Mason and Emily Flitter in New York, Ayesha Rascoe in Chicago, Steve Holland, Amanda Becker, Eric Beech and Mohammed Zargham in Washington; Writing by Ginger Gibson, Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton; Editing by James Dalgleish, Toni Reinhold and Bernard Orr)

12 Responses to Trump Vows: ‘I Will Never Drop Out Of The Race’ Despite Lewd Taped Remarks

  1. From one perspective, it would be good for him to stay in for several reasons: So that the spotlight of Reprimand and and Rebuke will continue to shine on him till he sweats; it will force America to get as long a look at what ails it as a collective, and understand more deeply the fallacy of living a life whose foundation has morphed to one solely based on Greed and Materialism, and Trump serves the role perfectly, of reflecting what the nation has become preoccupied with—being self-centered and having an over-developed sense of its importance; Trump’s refusal to leave will allow more richly deserved damage to be visited upon the GOP for its dedication to sowing seeds of divisiveness, fear, encouraging an insane form of patriotism, and promoting an anachronistic nativism; the revelations of his indiscretions come more clearly in focus and assumes greater clarity as to the dangers of being a person like Trump.

    Besides—Trump’s ego won’t allow him to step aside, nor let him look in the mirror and confront the cruel person he has carefully crafted himself to be. His ego has assumed such a proportion that he imagines himself to be a modern-day version of Zeus, or some other man-made god of humankind’s imagination, and who shows no sense of fear or apprehension regarding the real God spoken of in all the Religions and Traditions of the Past, and currently spoken of in a manner commensurate with our spiritual/mental perceptual development and maturation as cited in numerous places in the Writings of the Baha’i Faith.

    (“…this is the changeless Faith of God—eternal in the past, and eternal in the future”)

  2. Like every ignorant loudmouth, he can’t ever admit error and has to double down on it. That’s why he still thinks the Central Park Five are guilty (that, and the racism).

  3. How can he be blamed for saying what most guys have said with impunity in a locker room some time or the other? Further, what president or any politician in history can honestly claim he never said as much at some point in his/her life? Im more bothered by hillarys actions than trumps words. There is a word for what he is, its called HUMAN.

    You wish to say that word is indecent or bigoted or racist and not human. Really? Consider these articles. Hillary says her supporters are a bunch of losers and blacks are professional no-nothings. So who is racist, who is indecent? Who would want to vote for a person who thinks you are a loser good-for-nothing? Yet you love her? What does that say about you?

    http://www.redflagnews.com/headlines-2016/racist-hillary-dumps-on-african-americans-calls-them-professional-never-do-wells

    http://www.redflagnews.com/headlines-2016/hillary-calls-her-own-supporters-a-bucket-of-losers-no-wonder-she-didnt-want-her-wall-street-speeches-released

    • You appear to be using an argument that allows you to excuse anything in your candidate… which is the opposite of actually having some standards.
      i.e. I assume you have used this for Dennis Hastert’s pedophilia as well? “He’s just a flawed HUMAN… leave him alone!”

      You also fail to realise that your President should actually have standards of behavior that they have to adhere to… if only to avoid nuclear war.

      That is why everyone sane is aghast that so many people appear stupid enough to vote for Trump… because he’s all of those bad things people have said about him, and it’s not acceptable-or safe for the country-for your President to be any of those things.

      After a Trump-mouth-incited nuclear war… or a conventional war… or a stock market crash… or economic meltdown… it’s not an acceptable excuse to say: “What do you expect? He’s only HUMAN.”

      We expect more.
      Much more.

    • It’s weird how you can contort yourself to justify anything Trump does, no matter how awful, and yet any error Hillary makes – real or imaginary (mostly imaginary) – proves she can’t be President. Normal people aren’t like you.

  4. And McCain sounds like a whining prude who got jilted by Trumps comment that there is nothing heroic about being captured. Heros are born out of extraordinary events in which they play a part to save the day. Thats McCain? Not.

  5. Trump 1st said his vulgar comments were nothing more than locker room banter. His apologists have said basically the same thing. I have spent a lot of time in locker rooms and have never heard any words as gross and revolting as Trump’s. The locker rooms they are spending time in must be filled with very vulgar men if Trump’s words are representative of the things they say.
    A woman supporting Trump said that she wasn’t bothered by his statements because they were made when he was younger. While true, he was 59 years old when he made them. If she believes that his comments are acceptable because he was only 59 years old when he made them, I hope she isn’t a preacher or teaching Sunday School some place.
    There simply is no defense for his lewd vulgar indefensible statements. How do you do you defend admissions of committing sexual assault and attempting to commit adultery when both he and the woman he referred to were married?

  6. All these Republicans jumping ship and yet a leader for a Christian group said just the other day that he still believes in Trump. I apologize to all the readers here because I can’t remember his name but it still doesn’t diminish the fact that some Christians refuse
    to back away from Trump and ignore the the vulgarity he has displayed since his campaign first began.

    • It is very disturbing.
      Aside from the political aspects, I find it amazing that the some of the Evangelicals and other Christian groups supported him at all given his obvious ethical and moral flaws.
      After this… some are still sticking with him?

      I guess the questions are:
      – Why are they sticking with him? Is the whole LGBTQ thing so important that they could overlook this for that maybe?
      – What would it take for them to not support him? What would he have to do or say?

      I really don’t know.

      • Yes, the LGBTQ thing probably does have a lot to with it. The SCOTUS
        is another concern of theirs. Remember, over the past several years there have been many bills overturned that were pushed through State
        Legislatures with massive support from right-wing Evangelicals. Every bill was discriminatory against the gay community and a women’s right to choose what she does with her body. Oh, and don’t forget about prayer in public schools, they want to push that down everyone’s throats too.
        So yeah, it’s all about the SCOTUS.

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