WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Hello and thank you for joining us.
Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is in full throttle damage control mode following yesterday’s release of an 11-year-old videotape showing him making vulgar, sexual, remarks demeaning to women.
Today, Trump told the Wall Street Journal there is “zero chance I’ll quit” the race for the White House. This despite widespread condemnation from Republican Party leaders.
Trump also told the Washington Post, which firs tpublished the video on its website, “I’d never withdraw. I’ve never withdrawn in my life.” Trump told the newspaper he still has “unbelievable” and “tremendous” support. He began his pushback overnight with this 90-second video.
DONALD TRUMP: “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. Anyone who knows me, know these words don’t reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize.”
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The recording in question revealed Trump, who seemingly didn’t know his micrphone was on, telling an entertainment reporter how he could easily make sexual advances on women because he was famous. He also boasted of groping women by their genitals and propositioning a married woman. In his apology, Trump pledged to “be a better man.”
But he called the 11-year-old video a “distraction” from the real issues. And then his statement morphed into an attack on Bill and Hillary Clinton.
DONALD TRUMP: “I’ve said some foolish things, but there is a big difference between words and actions. Bill Clinton has actually abused women and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims.”
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Trump’s running mate — Indiana governor Mike Pence — says he was offended by the 2005 recording. In a written statement today, Pence said: “I do not condone his remarks and cannot defend them. I am grateful that he has expressed remorse and apologized to the American people.”
Pence was a no show in Wisconsin today at a Republican fundraiser hosted by Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan. Ryan had announced Pence would be there after he dis-invited Trump, Ryan saying he was “sickened” by Trump’s comments.
Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called Trump’s comments “repugnant and unacceptable.” The last two Republican presidential nominees condemned Trump. Mitt Romney calling his comments “vile,” and Sen. John McCain saying there were “no excuses” for them. South Dakota Sen. Johyn Thune — number three in the Senate Republican leadership — went further, saying, “Donald Trump should withdraw and Mike Pence should be our nominee effective immediately.
Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk, in a tough re-election campagin, agreed that Trump should step aside, calling him “a malignant clown.” New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, also in a very competitive race, said she would write in Pence for president. She announced on Twitter today: I cannot and will not support a candidate for president who brags about degrading and assaulting women.
Utah congressman Jason Chaffetz is among the growing number of Republican members of the House of Representatives renouncing their previous support for Trump.
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ: “I can’t look at my 15-year-old-daughter in the eye and tell her I endorse this person to become the president of the United States. I just, I just can’t do it.”
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Finally, Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said of the lewd Trump video: “This is horrific. We cannot allow this man to become president.”