Senior Republicans swiftly condemned Donald Trump on Friday after revelations of crude comments the GOP presidential nominee made about women in 2005, with House Speaker Paul Ryan saying he was “sickened” and cancelling a joint appearance scheduled for Saturday.
On the tape, Trump is caught on a live microphone while talking with Billy Bush of “Access Hollywood.” The candidate is heard saying “I did try and f— her. She was married.” He also uses graphic terms to describe the woman’s body and says he frequently tries to kiss beautiful women.
“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,” said Ryan, who has had a rocky relationship with Trump.
In a statement after the tape was revealed, Trump called his comments “locker room banter” and a “private conversation that took place many years ago.”
“Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course — not even close,” he said. “I apologize if anyone was offended.”
Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, was “beside himself” and his wife was furious, according to a person familiar with their thinking. That person spoke on the condition of anonymity, because they were not authorized to share the private discussion.
In public, Pence ignored questions shouted by reporters in Rossford, Ohio, where he was campaigning with his daughter.
Other members of the party, painfully aware of the possible impact on their own political fates, were quick to chime in. New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who is locked in a close race, called the comments “totally inappropriate and offensive.”
“Access Hollywood” said an Associated Press story about Trump’s lewd behind-the-scenes comments as star of “The Apprentice” led it to dig through its archives and turn up the previously un-aired footage from 2005. It was recorded during a bus ride while Trump was on his way to tape an episode of the soap opera “Days of Our Lives.”
Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus, who had stood by Trump through his past provocative comments, also condemned the nominee, saying: “No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever.”
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., called on Trump to “make a full and unqualified apology,” hours after he expressed regret for the remarks.
“There is absolutely no place for that sort of conduct or language in our society,” McCarthy said.
Arizona Sen. John McCain, who is up for re-election and who has previously been insulted by Trump, said: “There are no excuses for Donald Trump’s offensive and demeaning comments. 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.”
Trump should drop out and the “GOP should engage rules for emergency replacement,” tweeted Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., one of the most vulnerable Republican incumbents.
— Mark Kirk (@SenatorKirk) October 8, 2016
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.