GOP Scrambling After Trump Vulgarity, But Only Some Top Republicans Pull Support
Some lamented that it took this long for GOP to turn on Trump, given the racism, sexism, and xenophobia that has infused his entire campaign
Some said Donald Trump's presidential campaign had reached "the point of no return" after the Washington Post on Friday published a tape of the candidate making vulgar and predatory remarks about women during a 2005 conversation with Access Hollywood correspondent Billy Bush.
Trump early Saturday issued what the New York Times described as "an unusual videotaped apology," copping to the exchange in which he boasted about kissing and grabbing women, saying "when you're a star...you can do anything."
Saturday's apology came on the heels of a more casual dismissal Trump offered Friday night, and "amid an unprecedented outpouring of anger from conservatives, some of whom are demanding he pull out of the race entirely," as The Hill reported. The scandal broke about 48 hours before the second televised debate between Trump and rival Hillary Clinton, taking place Sunday evening.
"It's over," a Republican strategist who has been supportive of Trump told NBC News. "Never seen anything like it. Never will."
But while many top Republicans expressed outrage over the latest example of Trump's sexism, only some went as far as to formally rescind their endorsement of the candidate or to call on him to quit the race.
Indeed, Politico wrote Saturday, as "Trump and his senior aides huddled to strategize next steps, many Republicans felt paralyzed—stuck with a candidate few ever wholeheartedly embraced with only 31 days left until Election Day."
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) appeared to be one of them. Saying he was "sickened" by what the tape revealed, Ryan announced Trump had been disinvited from a scheduled joint appearance at Fall Fest in Elkhorn, Wisconsin on Saturday. But he didn't say he wouldn't vote for Trump, drawing ire on social media.
People who've denounced Trump's comments without withdrawing endorsements:
— Emma Roller (@emmaroller) October 8, 2016
2: Nonetheless Ryan still appears to support Trump for President and hopes Trump takes the situation "with the seriousness it deserves."
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) October 8, 2016
So, people, the story is not that Paul Ryan sternly nixed tomorrow's event. It's that he's still supporting Trump: https://t.co/9l94XX6A0u
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) October 8, 2016
TRUMP: I love the taste of human flesh. My presidency will be a cannibal orgy.
PAUL RYAN. I hope he apologizes. I still endorse him.
— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) October 8, 2016
Paul Ryan: "I am sickened by what I heard today. Women are to be revered and stuff. Vote Trump."
— Gary Shteyngart (@Shteyngart) October 8, 2016
Everyone burying the lede on Paul Ryan. Said he hopes Trump can show the country he's a different person. Not retracting endorsement. Scum.
— Bucks 82-0 imo (@kevinmccauley) October 8, 2016
It is...interesting that it has taken "grab 'me by the pussy" to begin to dislodge the official Republican Party from Trump.
— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) October 8, 2016
if GOP lawmakers want to argue this was the last straw, that's neat
they should also explain why they were cool with every previous straw
— Simon Maloy (@SimonMaloy) October 8, 2016
If the RNC abandons Trump now, it's because they thought Trump could win despite racism, but realize this likely just cost them white women.
— Alan Kestrel (@AlanKestrel750) October 7, 2016
When Republicans didn't have anything to say about Trump's racism but now that he's degrading about white women they're aghast pic.twitter.com/oBpUyeiKAp
— Ira Madison III (@ira) October 8, 2016
Wait until Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan find out that Donald Trump said Mexican ancestry renders a person unfit to serve as a federal judge.
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) October 8, 2016
And still others wondered if the latest brouhaha would have any lasting effect on the race in today's fast-moving media cycle.
"Trump has said things that would have knocked other candidates out in a heartbeat," a Wisconsin Republican told Politico hours after the tape broke. "It is unlikely his hardcore supporters will turn on him, but Republicans and independents who were moving his way are now back in the confused and uncertain state. Trump won't overcome the statements—he will just move on, and in 24 hours the media will have something else to talk about."