U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers will continue to support Donald Trump despite criticism of the GOP nominee by the House speaker and a call for her to withdraw her support by her election opponent for his "locker room" comments.
In a press release Monday, Democrat Joe Pakootas tried to get the six-term Republican to go farther than her statement from last Friday after news broke that Trump had made comments about physically assaulting women in a 2005 interview with Access Hollywood. In Sunday's presidential debate, Trump referred to those comments as "locker room banter."
“As a coach, I know this is not ‘locker room banter.’ This is language that encourages rape and sexual assault and it must not be tolerated,” Pakootas said in an email to his supporters released by the campaign. “I am horrified and disgusted. As a father, grandfather, brother, and husband, I cannot imagine if someone spoke like this to the women in my life.”
Last week, McMorris Rodgers said she condemned Trump's comments but didn't go as far as some other Republicans who were withdrawing their support or demanding that he step down as the party's nominee. On Monday, House Speaker Paul Ryan, with whom she is usually aligned, said he would no longer campaign with Trump or defend things that the businessman and reality television star says.
Ryan's announcement came after a conference call with House Republicans.
On Tuesday, McMorris Rodgers' campaign released a prepared statement in response to requests for comment about Ryan's decision. In it she said she is still backing Trump.
"I have said all along that I absolutely disagree with some of Donald Trump's statements -- especially the video released on Friday," McMorris Rodgers said in the statement. "I will be voting for Mr. Trump because I believe that we must defeat Hillary Clinton who has a record of deliberately misleading the American people. She lacks transparency and accountability."