Even Trump’s running mate Mike Pence criticized the mogul’s remarks in a statement Saturday morning. “As a husband and father, I was offended by the words and actions described by Donald Trump in the 11-year-old video released yesterday,” 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. 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.”
Trump’s vulgar comments about women led to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to disinvite the candidate from their much publicized appearance together this weekend in Wisconsin; Pence was instead recruited to attend the GOP event, but instead opted to cancel his appearance Saturday morning as many Republicans flocked to social media to un-endorse Trump.
New Hampshire senator Kelly Ayotte, who previously sparred with Trump before ultimately backing the GOP nominee, was among the first to withdraw her support, telling her Twitter followers frankly, “I will not vote for Donald Trump.”
I will not vote for Donald Trump. Read my statement here: pic.twitter.com/F8zajgDZpg
— Kelly Ayotte (@KellyAyotte) October 8, 2016
Idaho senator Mike Crapo also rescinded his support for Trump. “Make no mistake — we need conservative leadership in the White House,” Crapo said in a statement. “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.”
Similar statements came, unexpectedly, from deep red state representatives like Alabama’s Martha Roby, Nevada’s Joe Heck and Utah’s Jason Chaffetz, who told a Utah TV station following the Trump video leak, “I’m out. I can no longer in good conscience endorse this person for president. It is some of the most abhorrent and offensive comments that you can possibly imagine.”
“Donald Trump should withdraw and Mike Pence should be our nominee effective immediately,” South Dakota senator John Thune tweeted Saturday afternoon. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has voted Republican in every election since becoming a U.S. citizen in 1983, tweeted that he would not vote Trump this election.
As proud as I am to label myself a Republican, there is one label that I hold above all else – American. My full statement: pic.twitter.com/biRvY8S3aZ
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) October 8, 2016
Saturday afternoon, John McCain also withdrew his support for Trump, writing in a statement on his website, “I have wanted to support the candidate our party nominated. He was not my choice, but as a past nominee, I thought it important I respect the fact that Donald Trump won a majority of the delegates by the rules our party set. I thought I owed his supporters that deference. But Donald Trump’s behavior this week, concluding with the disclosure of his demeaning comments about women and his boasts about sexual assaults, make it impossible to continue to offer even conditional support for his candidacy.”
McCain added that he wouldn’t vote for Clinton either; instead, the Arizona senator “will write in the name of some good conservative Republican who is qualified to be President.”
While many in Trump’s own party have asked the mogul to step aside – even after Trump’s late-night apology video – for the good of the GOP and let Mike Pence be the presidential nominee, Trump said in a pair of interviews this morning that he would “never” quit.
“I’d never withdraw. I’ve never withdrawn in my life,” Trump told The Washington Post. “No, I’m not quitting. I have tremendous support.”
Trump then reiterated to the Wall Street Journal that there is “zero chance I’ll quit.”