Republican Mike Crapo of Idaho is the latest senator to call for Donald Trump to step aside.
Crapo released a statement Saturday morning that says “this is not a decision that I have reached lightly, but his pattern of behavior left me no choice.”
Sen. Mike Lee of Utah also has called for Trump to quit the race, as has a growing list of House members and other elected officials.
Crapo said he’s spent years working on domestic violence issues. He said that Trump’s lewd tape released Friday was far from the “locker room” banter that the campaign initially described.
Here’s Crapo’s full statement:
“I have reached a decision that I can no longer endorse Donald Trump. This is not a decision that I have reached lightly, but his pattern of behavior has left me no choice. His repeated actions and comments toward women have been disrespectful, profane and demeaning. I have spent more than two decades working on domestic violence prevention. Trump’s most recent excuse of ‘locker room talk’ is completely unacceptable and is inconsistent with protecting women from abusive, disparaging treatment.
Make no mistake - we conservative leadership in the White House. I urge Donald Trump to step aside and allow the Republican party to put forward a conservative candidate like Mike Pence who can defeat Hillary Clinton.”
Jerry Sturgill, Crapo’s Democratic opponent in the November election, said in a statement, “I am glad to hear that Sen. Crapo finally pulled his endorsement of Donald Trump. That he didn’t do so immediately and without qualification is disappointing.”
Crapo’s state director Layne Bangerter, who’s on leave to direct the Trump campaign in Idaho, took to Facebook Friday night in response to the release of the 11-year-old audio and video tapes. Bangerter posted on Sturgill’s Facebook page, “I forgive Donald Trump. That’s part of my Christian makeup. Don’t everyone act so self-righteous and perfect while you live in your glass houses. We’re told to forgive and lift our fellow man. Mr. Trump apologized and committed to being better. What disgusts me more is it you embrace a party of abortion a party that will destroy human life you support Hillary Clinton you support gay marriage. When you tell me you’re a good man and embrace that type of party I don’t believe it so don’t play perfect and Almighty to me.”
Trump’s vice presidential running mate, Gov. Mike Pence, says he cannot condone or defend Donald Trump’s comments about women.
Pence said in a statement Saturday: “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.”
Meanwhile, Trump is trying his hand at understatement on arguably the most difficult day of his presidential candidacy.
He tweeted just before 11 a.m. Saturday: “Certainly has been an interesting 24 hours!”
It was his first comment since releasing a video in which he apologized for his lewd comments unearthed in a 2005 video. The tweet comes amid nearly universal condemnation of those remarks, in which Trump was caught in an off-camera conversation speaking in vulgar terms about women.
Trump told The Washington Post later in the morning that he would not quit the presidential race. “I’d never withdraw,” he said. “I’ve never withdrawn in my life.”
He also told The Wall Street Journal there was “zero chance I’ll quit.”
Melania Trump came to her husband’s defense, saying the vile words he spoke in the video, first uncovered on Friday, do “not represent the man that I know.”
She said in a rare public statement that the words her husband used in the 2005 footage released Friday “are unacceptable and offensive to me.”
She added that the words do “not represent the man that I know,” and said, “He has the heart and mind of a leader.”
Trump was newly married when he bragged on tape about trying to have sex with married women and groping others without permission.
Melania Trump said she “hopes people will accept his apology, as I have, and focus on the important issues facing our nation and the world.”
Several Republican members of Congress are calling for him to withdraw from the race as the GOP struggles to keep its congressional majority and have announced they will no longer support Trump.
New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte said she is dropping her support for Trump and plans to write in Pence’s name for president. She said in a statement that she cannot support a presidential candidate “who brags about degrading and assaulting women.”
But some are speaking up in support of Trump.
Ben Carson, Trump’s former GOP rival and current adviser, said he “in no way” condones Trump’s behavior in the extremely lewd video released Friday, but said Trump “did the right thing in immediately and unequivocally apologizing.”
Carson blamed Trump’s adversaries for the video’s release.
Carson said “progressives” are trying to distract from the issues and damaging excerpts from Hillary Clinton’s paid speeches, also released Friday.
It’s unclear whether Trump will make any public appearances before Sunday’s second debate with Clinton in St. Louis. Trump is not attending a previously scheduled event Saturday in Wisconsin with House Speaker Paul Ryan.