An avalanche of Republican criticism descended upon Donald Trump after a video released Friday showed the party’s nominee making indefensible comments about women.
Statements from some of the leading figures in the Republican Party condemned Trump’s recorded statements as unacceptable and appalling. Trump’s staunchest allies have gone largely silent. House Speaker Paul Ryan publicly disinvited Trump from a Saturday-afternoon event in Wisconsin.
And an an increasing number of GOP officials have either withdrawn their endorsements or even called for him to exit the race. Some have urged Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Trump’s VP pick, to replace the real estate magnate at the top of the ticket.
Pence released a statement of his own Saturday afternoon saying he was “offended” by Trump’s crude remarks and could not defend them. “I am grateful that he has expressed remorse and has apologized to the American people. 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,” Pence said.
The firestorm began Friday afternoon, when the Washington Post published a 2005 video of Trump caught on a hot mic with then “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush. Among other things, Trump boasted about trying to “f***” a married woman and declared that as a celebrity, he could do anything with women, including grabbing them “by the p****.”
Trump initially apologized only if “anyone was offended.” But in the early hours of Saturday morning, he offered a more direct apology in a video statement released by his campaign.
That apology did little to dampen the intraparty criticism, as the statements calling for Trump to exit the race continued to pile up throughout Saturday morning and afternoon.
A roundup of the GOP reaction to the scandal can be found below.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
John McCain withdraws support: "Trump’s behavior…make it impossible to continue to offer even conditional support for his candidacy.” pic.twitter.com/pGlAI4beQW
— Matt Viser (@mviser) October 8, 2016
2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney
Hitting on married women? Condoning assault? Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America's face to the world.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) October 8, 2016
Former Secretary of State Condi Rice
Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.
I will not vote for Donald Trump. Read my statement here: pic.twitter.com/F8zajgDZpg
— Kelly Ayotte (@KellyAyotte) October 8, 2016
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio
PORTMAN on Trump: "I can no longer support him." pic.twitter.com/sHg9MKYHsT
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) October 9, 2016
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
“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. In the meantime, he is no longer attending tomorrow’s event in Wisconsin.”
Sen. 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.”
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas
Every wife, mother, daughter — every person — deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. https://t.co/AVSEBastVc
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) October 8, 2016
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
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
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. I’ve long had concerns with Donald Trump that go beyond his temperament. We have substantive policy differences on conservative issues like trade, our relationship with Russia, and the importance of balancing the federal budget. I’ve held out hope that he would change on those disqualifying policy positions, but he has not. I’ve also encouraged him to change his behavior for the better and offer a positive, inclusive vision for our country, but he has not.
It’s clear that he hasn’t changed and has no interest in doing so. As a result, Donald Trump is a man I cannot and should not support. The actions of the last day are disgusting, but that’s not why I reached this decision, it has been an accumulation of his words and actions that many have been warning about. I will not vote for a nominee who has behaved in a manner that reflects so poorly on our country. Our country deserves better.”
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.
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) October 7, 2016
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
Name one sports team, university, publicly-held company, etc. that would accept a person like this as their standard bearer?
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 8, 2016
Former New York Gov. George Pataki
— George E. Pataki (@GovernorPataki) October 8, 2016
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina
— Sarah Isgur Flores (@whignewtons) October 8, 2016
South Dakota Gov. 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
Sen. Jon Thune, R-S.D.
Donald Trump should withdraw and Mike Pence should be our nominee effective immediately.
— Senator John Thune (@SenJohnThune) October 8, 2016
Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho
I can no longer endorse Donald Trump. Read my full statement: pic.twitter.com/lfa9mYZbdC
— Senator Mike Crapo (@MikeCrapo) October 8, 2016
Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo.
If Donald Trump wishes to defeat Hillary Clinton, he should do the only thing that will allow us to do so – step aside. My full statement: pic.twitter.com/hadKP4gIrr
— Cory Gardner (@CoryGardner) October 8, 2016
Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill.
DJT is a malignant clown – unprepared and unfit to be president of the United States.
— Mark Kirk (@SenatorKirk) October 7, 2016
Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska.
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
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.
— Lisa Murkowski (@LisaForSenate) October 8, 2016
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb.
Character matters.@realDonaldTrump is obviously not going to win.
But he can still make an honorable move:
Step aside & let Mike Pence try.
— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) October 8, 2016
Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb.
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
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman
“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 Governor Pence to lead the ticket.” (via the Salt Lake Tribune.)
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. #utpol
— Gary R. Herbert (@HerbertForUtah) October 8, 2016
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz on Donald Trump: "This was not just locker room talk. This was offensive." https://t.co/wXisqF5Idm
— CNN (@CNN) October 8, 2016
Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah.
Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah.
Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo.
“For the good of the country, and to give Republicans a chance of defeating Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump should step aside. His defeat at this point seems almost certain and four years of Hillary Clinton is not what is best for this country. Mr. Trump should put the country first and do the right thing.” (via Fox 35 Denver.)
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.V.
WV GOP Sen. Shelley Moore Capito: Trump should "re-examine his candidacy". pic.twitter.com/0SpWNGcrhz
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 8, 2016
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.
— Jason Noble (@jasonnobleDMR) October 8, 2016
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval
— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) October 8, 2016
Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev.
“I believe any candidate for president of the United States should campaign with common ethical and moral values and decency. I accept that none of us are perfect. However, I can no longer look past this pattern of behavior and inappropriate comments from Donald Trump. Therefore, I cannot, in good conscience, continue to support him nor can I vote for Hillary Clinton. … I believe our only option is to formally ask Mr. Trump to step down and allow Republicans the opportunity to elect someone who will provide us with the strong leadership so desperately needed and one that Americans deserve.”
Rep. Cresent Hardy, R-Nev.
— Megan Messerly (@meganmesserly) October 8, 2016
Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va.
— Barbara Comstock (@BarbaraComstock) October 8, 2016
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley
“I certainly won’t vote for Hillary Clinton, but I cannot and will not vote for Donald Trump.” (via the Montgomery Advertiser.)
Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala.
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
Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo.
My statement on the Presidential race: pic.twitter.com/mDAx5cCC59
— Ann Wagner (@AnnLWagner) October 8, 2016
Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla.
First Florida Republican to call for Trump to go is Rep Tom Rooney: "I can no longer support Donald Trump"
— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) October 8, 2016
Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill.
My statement on Donald Trump and the presidential election —> pic.twitter.com/VUiHAGgkLb
— Rodney Davis (@ElectRodney) October 8, 2016