Conservatives (Mostly) Condemn Donald Trump After Lewd Recordings Surface
Hugh Hewitt is calling on the candidate to quit the race while Arnold Schwarzenegger says he will not vote Republican for the first time since 1983. John McCain also formally withdraws his support for Trump's candidacy.
Republicans are weighing in on the revelation that Donald Trump made vulgar statements about women in a caught-on-tape conversation the GOP presidential nominee had with former Access Hollywood anchor Billy Bush.
Perhaps the harshest rebukes came from nationally syndicated talk-radio host Hugh Hewitt and Trump rival Carly Fiorina, who each called on Trump to quit the race.
"For the benefit of the country, the party and his family, and for his own good, @realDonaldTrump should withdraw. More and worse oppo coming," Hewitt tweeted.
Then Hewitt went on the MSNBC AM Joy show and told host Joy Reid that he doubts Trump can win. "You and I both know that opposition research save their best for last ... this is like sixth in line of their drops," he said.
As for Fiorina, she took to Facebook to say Trump "should step aside and for the RNC to replace him with Gov. Mike Pence." She added, "Donald Trump does not represent me or my party."
Arnold Schwarzenegger, the host of NBC's The Apprentice, said Saturday that, for the first time since becoming a U.S. citizen in 1983 he won't vote Republican. The former governor of California, though, did not say who he'd vote for, nor did he reference the Trump controversy that has dominated the news since Friday evening.
"As proud as I am to label myself a Republican, there is one label that I hold above all else — American. So I want to take a moment today to remind my fellow Republicans that it is not only acceptable to choose your country over your party — it is your duty," Schwarzenegger said via a tweet that also referenced Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan.
"No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever," said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.
A video was released on Saturday in which Robert De Niro called Trump a "pig" and a "bozo." Supporter Jon Voight responded, tweeting that he will continue to stand behind Trump on Saturday, calling for fellow supporters to "to express their outrage and anger against DeNiro and all of the Republican turncoats," and to "Let Donald Trump know we are completely behind him, and may God give him the strength to continue his calling."
Sen. John McCain formally withdrew his support from Trump, saying the comments "make it impossible" for him to support the nominee in a statement posted on his Twitter account. The 2008 GOP nominee said he and his wife Cindy will instead write in the name of "some good conservative Republican who is qualified to be president."
“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," he said in the statement. "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 on this."
Sarah Palin took to Facebook to post a lengthy message that both denounced the comments, calling them "beyond abhorrent and offensive," and defended Trump. "As offensive, however, is media obsession with a very old conversation between non-political figures when we're in a crucial time facing earth-altering shifts in our future," Palin, who has stumped for Trump throughout the campaign, wrote. "In today's Presidential race, it's only telling which candidate participated in cruder past conversations if both candidates' communications were all exposed, but alas, that won't happen."
Condoleezza Rice wrote on Facebook that she thinks Trump should drop out of the race. "Enough! Donald Trump should not be President," she says in the post. "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 scandal in question, of course, concerns recordings released by the Washington Post on Friday, where Trump is heard telling Bush that he tried to f— Nancy O'Dell, now an Entertainment Tonight co-host.
Trump also said of women in general: "When you're a star, they let you do it. ... Grab them by the p—y. You can do anything."
Jeb Bush, who is Billy Bush's cousin and who ran against Trump for the GOP nomination, tweeted: "As the grandfather of two precious girls, I find that no apology can excuse away Donald Trump's reprehensible comments degrading women."
Ted Cruz, who was under fire at the GOP Convention for refusing to endorse Trump, but who then reversed course last month, tweeted: "These comments are disturbing and inappropriate, there is simply no excuse for them."
John Kasich, who also ran against Trump, tweeted: "Make no mistake the comments were wrong and offensive. They are indefensible."
Marco Rubio also responded to the comments on Twitter, saying: "Donald's comments were vulgar, egregious & impossible to justify. No one should ever talk about any woman in those terms, even in private."
Also, House Speaker Paul Ryan canceled a campaign appearance with Trump and scheduled one with vp candidate Mike Pence while issuing the statement: "I am sickened by what I heard today. Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified."
Pence, however, will not attend the rescheduled campaign rally, according to the Associated Press. He broke his silence on the controversy Saturday morning, saying he cannot "condone" or "defend" Trump's comments.
"As a husband and a father, I was offended by the words and actions described by Donald Trump in the 11-year-old video released yesterday," he said in a released statement. "I do not condone his remarks and cannot defend them. I am grateful that he has expressed remorse and apologized to the American people."
He continued: "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."
Trump apologized on Friday, issuing the following 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. I apologize if anyone was offended."
He later released a video message for his "foolish" remarks, saying: "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."
On Saturday morning, as condemnation grew, he said he will not quit the presidential race. "I'd never withdraw. I've never withdrawn in my life," he told The Washington Post, who broke the tape story on Friday. He also tweeted: "Certainly has been an interesting 24 hours!"
And Billy Bush said in a statement: "Obviously I'm very embarrassed and ashamed. It's no excuse, but this happened eleven years ago — I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I'm very sorry."
Ann Coulter, one of Trump's earliest and strongest supporters, tweeted shortly after reading Bush's statement: "Billy! Bush publicly apologizes for being attracted to women, adding, 'it won't happen again.' "
Coulter also tweeted: "If this were more than locker room talk, then why haven't legions of women testified to it (LIKE WITH BILL CLINTON)?"
Away from Twitter, though, Coulter appears worried this latest scandal could harm her chosen candidate.
"As I have always said, no one is for Trump because of his character and personality," she told THR. "We're for him because he alone was willing to talk about important issues that the other cowards would not address: immigration, borders, endless wars, job-killing trade deals, special tax breaks for Wall Street, jihadist immigration to our country.
"Because he was taking on the establishment of both parties, the combine that runs this country has been using a battering ram against him for more than a year now. Maybe this secretly tape-recorded loutish conversation from 11 years ago will finally work. For the sake of our country, I hope not."
Another high-profile supporter, Milo Yiannopoulos, who was banned from tweeting after engaging in a Twitter war with Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones, told THR: "Trump talks like ordinary people talk. That's exactly why his fans like him. This will do him no damage at all."
Scott Baio, who spoke at the Republican National Convention in support of Trump, retweeted: "Locker room banter doesn't compromise national security nor did it kill 4 Americans," a reference to Benghazi and Hillary Clinton's email scandal.
He also retweeted: "Bill Clinton has raped many women & Hillary intimidates the victims but the media is focused on jokes made by Trump in 2005 with Billy Bush."
And Baio tweeted: "Let me guess .. liberals & the media will only 4give Billy Bush & bury @realDonaldTrump I still think Hillary is worse."
Oct. 8, 10 a.m. PT: Updated with Saturday morning comments
2:50 p.m.: Updated with Saturday afternoon comments