Is This Controversy the “Final Straw” for Trump?
With all the outrageous things Donald Trump has said over the years, this year in particular, it’s amazing that one 11-year-old tape has suddenly caused many supporters to turn against him. What he says on the recording is not that different from what he has said before. And to be fair, he was speaking in private, with an outrageous Hollywood person who was egging him on—and no reason to believe he was being recorded.
One of the first people to turn on him was House Speaker Paul Ryan. Ryan has repeatedly disapproved of Trump, and it took long negotiations for the two pols to begin to support one another. In fact, the two were scheduled for their first joint campaign appearance on Saturday, hoping to bury the hatchet, and move toward election together, according to Breitbart.
Trump originally planned to campaign with Ryan on Saturday, but after the Washington Post released a tape of the Republican nominee making lewd remarks about women in 2005 on Friday afternoon, Ryan issued a statement late Friday night that Trump won’t be coming to Wisconsin the next day.
“I am sickened by what I heard today. Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified. I hope Mr. Trump treats this situation with the seriousness it deserves and works to demonstrate to the country that he has greater respect for women than this clip suggests. In the meantime, he is no longer attending tomorrow’s event in Wisconsin,” Ryan stated in a press release.
Ryan asked Mike Pence to stand in for him at the Wisconsin event, but the Blaze reports that Pence Refused.
Ryan’s rejection didn’t go as far as withdrawing support. But others did.
Republican lawmakers are pulling their endorsements for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump after the Washington Post released a bombshell video Friday in which Trump makes lewd comments about women. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Utah) was the first GOP member of Congress to peel off Friday night, declaring on a local TV station, “I’m out.”. . . That was right after his home state governor, Gary Herbert (R), said he, too, was dropping his support for Trump after seeing the tape of him. . .
The floodgates were open by Saturday morning. Here’s a running list of the GOP members of Congress, senators and governors rescinding their endorsements for Trump or calling on him to step down, one month before the election, after seeing the video:
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Utah), Rep. Martha Roby (Ala.). Rep. Chris Stewart (Utah), Rep. Bradley Byrne (Ala.). Rep. Joe Heck (Nev.), Rep. Cresent Hardy (Nev.), Rep. Scott Garrett (N.J.), Rep. Ann Wagner (Mo.), Rep. Rodney Davis (Mo.), Sen. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Sen. Mike Crapo (Idaho), Sen. John Thune (S.D.), Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Sen. Deb Fischer (Neb.), Sen. Dan Sullivan (Alaska), Sen. Cory Gardner (Colo.), Gov. Gary Herbert (Utah), Gov. Dennis Dauggard (S.D.), Gov. Robert Bentley (Ala.)
Some are going beyond criticism and dropping support, some are now asking Trump to withdraw.
There’s also some GOP lawmakers who didn’t support Trump before but are now taking it a stepf urther and saying he needs to drop out. They include Sens. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Mark Kirk (Ill.) , Mike Lee (Utah), Ben Sasse (Neb.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Reps. Mike Coffman (Colo.), Barbara Comstock (Va.), Fred Upton (Mich.) and Charlie Dent (Pa.).
The Daily Caller lists many comments of those demanding that Trump withdraw. Here are some examples:
South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the third-highest ranking member of the Republican leadership in the Senate, said Saturday: “Donald Trump should withdraw and Mike Pence should be our nominee effective immediately.”. . .
Utah Sen. Mike Lee, a close ally of Trump’s chief primary rival Ted Cruz, also encouraged Trump to withdraw in Facebook video. “I respectfully ask you, with all due respect, to step aside,” Lee said. “Step down.”. . .
Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo withdrew his endorsement of Trump and said: “Make no mistake—we need 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.”
Carly Fiorina, who ran against Trump in the primary, said Saturday: “Donald Trump does not represent me or my party…Today I ask Donald Trump to step aside and for the RNC to replace him with Gov. Mike Pence.”
That’s not to say that the grassroots go along. When Nevada senate candidate Joe Heck called for Trump to step down, he was loudly booed, according to the Daily Caller.
The Blaze reports that Trump says there is “zero chance” that he will resign.
Trump told the Wall Street Journal that there is “zero chance” he’ll step down as the GOP nominee, despite pressure from dozens of influential conservatives and Republicans, including multiple state governors, senators and members of the House.
“I never, ever give up,” Trump said, adding that his campaign allegedly isn’t in a crisis. “The support I’m getting is unbelievable, because Hillary Clinton is a horribly flawed candidate.”
“I’d never withdraw. I’ve never withdrawn in my life,” Trump told the [Washington] Post. “No, I’m not quitting this race. I have tremendous support.”
In fact, Newsmax reports that Ben Carson is calling it a “smear campaign” against Trump.
Former Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson told Newsmax Saturday that Donald Trump is the victim of a vicious smear campaign by Democrats and liberal media and urged Republicans to stand by their candidate. . .
“I’m not seeing anything that I didn’t totally expect,” Carson said. “The political class and the media has to make this about Donald Trump. They cannot make this about the issues. . .
Carson conceded that Trump has “made some mistakes.”
“He concedes that,” Carson said. “Those are not good things to say, what he said in that tape. He’s not going to try to defend that. And he’s not going to allow this to become about him. The issues are too important.”
Aside from the officials and candidates, Newsmax says donors are also bailing.
Key Republican donors have begun looking into whether it’s possible to replace Donald Trump as the party’s presidential nominee after his campaign was jarred Friday by a video showing him speaking about groping women and making other crude, sexually aggressive comments. . .
Spencer Zwick, a top Republican fundraiser, said donors are backing away from Trump. “Major GOP donors are pulling support from Donald Trump and are now looking to fund an effort to back someone else as the Republican nominee,” Zwick said.
Of course, Trump’s “women problem” has only gotten worse.
Republican women are abandoning Donald Trump in an historic repudiation of their party’s nominee, a devastating development for the GOP candidate’s chances one month before Election Day. . . A mass desertion by white, married women would effectively torpedo Trump’s chances of defeating Hillary Clinton. That demographic has been a core part of every Republican nominee’s constituency this century — Mitt Romney and John McCain won 53 percent of married women, and still lost the election
One particularly notable defection: Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), who is perhaps Trump’s most prominent female defender in the Senate.
“The comments made by Mr. Trump were disgusting and totally unacceptable under any circumstance,” she tweeted. “It would be wise for him to step aside and allow Mike Pence to serve as our party’s nominee.”
Now, the pressure is on the RNC and chair Reince Priebus.
Pressure is mounting on the Republican National Committee to act decisively in the wake of the leaked video of Donald Trump’s crude comments on women, placing many committee members at odds with elected GOP officials across the nation who are increasingly demanding his ouster or renouncing their support.
The RNC is taking the weekend to reevaluate its strategy while lawyers examine the legal hurdles to replacing Trump with another nominee, according to Republicans in touch with the committee. . .
A never-before-invoked Republican National Committee rule gives party leaders the authority to choose a new nominee. But committee members are loathe to use it, in part because of the chaos it would unleash — which could ripple up and down the GOP ticket — and also because they are more insulated from the forces buffeting the members of Congress and governors who are publicly calling for Trump to be removed from ticket. . .
The RNC is the only body with the authority to authorize a replacement nominee. And the rule at issue is known as Rule 9, which gives the committee the power to fill a vacancy for the presidential nomination by “death, declination or otherwise.”
While the word ‘otherwise’ has been interpreted by some to give the RNC wiggle room to force out a sitting nominee if it chooses, that interpretation is in dispute — RNC sources told POLITICO that lawyers agreed the committee couldn’t oust Trump under that rendering of the rules.
“RNC has an army of lawyers right now looking at Rule 9 and ballot questions,” said one Republican strategist.
Conservative attorney Jim Bopp, a close ally of the RNC, said he doesn’t believe the word “otherwise” authorizes the RNC to drop Trump proactively.
“This sentence only empowers the RNC to fill vacancies, not create them,” he said, suggesting that the removal of a candidate by a court would fit the description. “The power to create a vacancy is a separate and independent power from the power to fill vacancies and that power would have to be conferred on the RNC by a specific rule, which does not exist.
One option might be invoking Rule 12 — which gives the party the authority to amend its own rules — but that would also be problematic because it requires at least 40 days to take effect. However, the committee — which operates under Roberts Rules of Order — also appears to have the authority to suspend those restrictions with a two-thirds vote. . .
Trump’s name is on the ballot in all of [the States]. In addition, there are just 31 days left until Election Day — and it would take time for the RNC to convene a meeting, which would have no guarantee of consensus.
If RNC members did replace Trump, voters would still likely have to cast their ballots for him and let members of the Electoral College reconcile that with the party’s replacement nominee.
Former New Hampshire Sen. Gordon Humphrey said the party should pursue that route to protect its down-ballot candidates from Trump’s potential drag. . .
And that would put Reince Priebus’ job in jeopardy, too.
“I call upon Reince Priebus, as Trump’s principal enabler to resign and for the RNC to meet in emergency session and to strip Donald Trump of the nomination.”
At this point, the last word is Trump’s.
Trump told the Wall Street Journal Saturday “there’s zero chance I’ll quit.”
“The media and establishment want me out of the race so badly – I WILL NEVER DROP OUT OF THE RACE, WILL NEVER LET MY SUPPORTERS DOWN!” he tweeted late Saturday afternoon.
But maybe not. The RNC said it is “taking the weekend to reevaluate.” In other words, they want to see how Trump does in Sunday’s debate. . .