Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence said Saturday he could not condone or defend Donald Trump’s comments about women.
Pence said in a statement: “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. 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 added that “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.”
A growing number of Republican politicians urged Trump to quit the presidential race on Saturday.
Rep. Bradley Byrne of Alabama said Trump’s recorded lewd comments about women were “appalling.” He added that “Trump is not fit to be president of the United States and cannot defeat Hillary Clinton.”
He said Trump should step aside and let Pence lead the Republican ticket for the four weeks left until Election Day.
New Jersey Republican Rep. Scott Garrett also said Trump’s running mate would be “the best nominee for the Republican Party to defeat Hillary Clinton.”
New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte said she was dropping her support for Trump and planned to write in Pence’s name for president. Ayotte said in a statement that she could not support a presidential candidate “who brags about degrading and assaulting women.”
“It’s over,” said Republican strategist Terry Sullivan, who previously led Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign. “The only good news is that in 30 days Trump will be back to being just a former reality TV star like the Kardashians, and Republican candidates across America will no longer be asked to respond to his stupid remarks.”
Trump “is obviously not going to win,” Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse tweeted Saturday morning. “But he can still make an honorable move: Step aside & let Mike Pence try.”
Trump himself, meanwhile, refused to withdraw from the race, saying her would “never” quit.
Trump said he wouldn’t yield the GOP nomination under any circumstances. “Zero chance I’ll quit,” he told The Wall Street Journal.
He told The Washington Post: “I’d never withdraw. I’ve never withdrawn in my life.” He claimed to have “tremendous support.”
In a videotaped midnight apology, Trump declared “I was wrong and I apologize” after being caught on tape bragging about aggressively groping women in 2005. He also defiantly dismissed the revelations as “nothing more than a distraction” from a decade ago and signaled he would press his presidential campaign by arguing that rival Hillary Clinton has committed greater sins against women.