The Trump campaign is reeling after an incriminating video uncovered by Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold caught the Republican nominee bragging about sexually assaulting women.
“When you’re a star, you can do anything,” Trump said in 2005 as he rode on an “Access Hollywood” bus with the former host of the show, Billy Bush. “Grab them by the pussy.”
The presidential hopeful also gloated about his unsuccessful attempt to sleep with a married woman — several months after he had married his third wife, Melania Knauss.
“I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it. I did try and fuck her. She was married,” he said.
The video comes in the middle of an already grueling week for the candidate. After spending several days following a dismal debate performance doubling down on former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, who claimed that he mocked her for gaining weight, he also came under fire when he suggested veterans with PTSD are not “strong.” Then, last Saturday, the New York Times reported that the real estate tycoon may have avoided paying federal income taxes for 18 years, based on 1995 tax returns sent by an anonymous source.
The latest round of comments, some say, could deal the final blow to a campaign struggling to find footing. A Trump campaign source told CNN that the remarks “could be a death knell.” Another one added, “Ugh.”
The comments also drew harsh criticism from a number of Republican politicians who have endorsed the candidate, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Arizona Senator John McCain, New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, and Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey.
Donald's comments were vulgar, egregious & impossible to justify.
No one should ever talk about any woman in those terms, even in private.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 8, 2016
But some Republican leaders have gone further than condemnation. They have withdrawn their support of the candidate.
Trump doesn’t seem swayed by the growing calls to step down, however. “I’d never withdraw. I’ve never withdrawn in my life,” he told the Washington Post Saturday morning. “No, I’m not quitting this race. I have tremendous support.”
On Friday, Jon Huntsman, the former Governor of Utah who ran for president in 2012, called on Donald Trump to drop out of the race and instead allow Indiana Governor Mike Pence to lead the ticket.
“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 Gov. Pence to lead the ticket,” he told The Salt Lake Tribune.
Utah congressman Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House oversight committee, also withdrew his support of Trump, saying that the candidate’s remarks were “some of the most abhorrent and offensive comments that you can possibly imagine” and that he could “no longer in good conscience endorse this person for president.”
— Ben Winslow (@BenWinslow) October 8, 2016
In Facebook video on Friday night, Utah Senator Mike Lee also called on Trump to drop out of the race.
“I respectfully ask you, with all due respect, to step aside. Step down, allow someone else to carry the banner of these principles… rather than weighing down the American people.”
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Meanwhile, Utah governor Gary Herbert called Trump’s statements “despicable” and confirmed that he would not vote for the candidate, either.
Donald Trump's statements are beyond offensive & despicable. While I cannot vote for Hillary Clinton, I will not vote for Trump. #utpol
— Gary R. Herbert (@HerbertForUtah) October 8, 2016
Alabama congresswoman Martha Roby withdrew her support on Saturday morning, tweeting: “Donald Trump’s behavior makes him unacceptable as a candidate for president, and I won’t vote for him”
Donald Trump's behavior makes him unacceptable as a candidate for president, and I won't vote for him.
Full statement: pic.twitter.com/Ge7GU1TSvm
— Rep. Martha Roby (@RepMarthaRoby) October 8, 2016
Utah Rep. Chris Stewart also called on the candidate to step down.
Missed this: Utah Rep. Chris Stewart, who compared Trump to Mussolini and then endorsed him, also calling for nominee to step aside
— Nick Riccardi (@NickRiccardi) October 8, 2016
Idaho Senator Mike Crapo also withdrew his support.
I can no longer endorse Donald Trump. Read my full statement: pic.twitter.com/lfa9mYZbdC
— Senator Mike Crapo (@MikeCrapo) October 8, 2016
After calling Trump a “role model” in a debate earlier this week, New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte finally announced that she would not support Trump, as well.
I will not vote for Donald Trump. Read my statement here: pic.twitter.com/F8zajgDZpg
— Kelly Ayotte (@KellyAyotte) October 8, 2016
Nevada Rep. Joe Heck, locked in a tight senate race, also called on Trump to step down.
Video: Rep. Joe Heck, in close senate race in Nevada, calls on Trump to drop out as some in crowd boo him https://t.co/uHHVupSykb
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) October 8, 2016
South Dakota Senator John Thune:
Donald Trump should withdraw and Mike Pence should be our nominee effective immediately.
— Senator John Thune (@SenJohnThune) October 8, 2016
South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard:
Enough is enough. Donald Trump should withdraw in favor of Governor Mike Pence. This election is too important.
— Gov. Dennis Daugaard (@SDGovDaugaard) October 8, 2016
Missouri Rep. Ann Wagner:
My statement on the Presidential race: pic.twitter.com/mDAx5cCC59
— Ann Wagner (@AnnLWagner) October 8, 2016
Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis:
My statement on Donald Trump and the presidential election —> pic.twitter.com/VUiHAGgkLb
— Rodney Davis (@ElectRodney) October 8, 2016
Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan:
Im calling on Trump to step aside for Gov. Pence. Trump can’t lead on critical issue of ending dom violence & sexual assault. Full statement pic.twitter.com/e47h6MAdmH
— SenDanSullivan (@SenDanSullivan) October 8, 2016
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval:
— Michelle Rindels (@MichelleRindels) October 8, 2016
Alabama Rep. Bradley Byrne:
“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.”
Nevada Rep. Cresent Hardy:
— Megan Messerly (@meganmesserly) October 8, 2016
Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer:
The comments made by Mr. Trump were disgusting and totally unacceptable under any circumstance. (1/2)
— Deb Fischer (@DebFischerNE) October 8, 2016
It would be wise for him to step aside and allow Mike Pence to serve as our party's nominee. (2/2)
— Deb Fischer (@DebFischerNE) October 8, 2016
“I certainly won’t vote for Hillary Clinton, but I cannot and will not vote for Donald Trump.”