Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump lashed out at critics Sunday, calling them “self-righteous hypocrites” for calling on him to step aside in the wake of the release of a 2005 tape of him making crude remarks about women and bragging about trying to bed a married woman.
Numerous Republican leaders have withdrawn their support of Trump since the Washington Post published video of Trump talking with Billy Bush, then of “Access Hollywood,” about how his fame allows him to do virtually anything when it comes to women.
Vice President Joe Biden said what Trump bragged about amounts to sexual assault.
Trump issued an apology Friday and then again Saturday.
“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 [Friday] on this more than a decade-old video are one of them. Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am,” Trump said.
He then defiantly tweeted he never would abandon the race.
Running mate Mike Pence issued his own statement, saying he could not condone or defend Trump’s remarks.
“As a husband and father, I was offended by the words and actions described by Donald Trump,” Pence said.
The issue is expected to come up during Sunday’s presidential debate.
Trump Sunday tweeted the Republicans abandoning are “self-righteous hypocrites” whose poll numbers will go down as a result.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, himself thrice-married and the center of a sex scandal before the 2001 terror attack in New York, defended Trump in appearances on the Sunday talk shows, dismissing the tape because of its age and insisting Trump is not the same man despite the candidate's often misogynistic and negative remarks about women during the campaign.
Three dozen Republicans, including senators who are up for re-election, said they were pulling their support and calling on Trump to step aside, the Washington Post reported.
Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo was the first sitting senator to pull his support, CNN reported.
“This is not a decision that I have reached lightly, but his pattern of behavior has left me no choice,” Crapo said. “His repeated actions and comments toward women have been disrespectful, profane and demeaning.”
New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who had said she would vote for Trump but not endorse him, said she plans to write in Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence’s name in for president.
Arizona Sen. John McCain, who Trump slammed during the primary campaign for getting captured by the North Vietnamese, said Trump’s behavior makes “it impossible to continue to offer even conditional support for his candidacy.”
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said he had had “enough” in a Facebook post.
“Donald Trump should not be president. He should withdraw,” she said.
Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, who said early in the campaign he would not support Trump, called for the Republican Party to dump the nominee.
Dumping the nominee, however, is an impractical solution. More than a dozen states already have started early voting, and the costs involved in changing ballots would be astronomical.