Reaction to the video of Donald Trump using explicit language and apparently describing himself forcing himself on women continues to roll in. And it is not good for the GOP nominee. Prominent Republicans are calling on him to drop out and elected officials are running from him and fast. See the full list of Republicans calling on Trump to step down at the bottom on this post.
The candidate isn’t backing down, telling the Washington Post’s Robert Costa in an interview today, “I’d never withdraw. I’ve never withdrawn in my life.”
The Post reports, Trump called from his home in Trump Tower and said, “No, I’m not quitting this race. I have tremendous support.”
Trump also tweeted, seemingly downplaying the firestorm that has consumed his campaign.
Just to give a sense of how bad things have gotten in the past 24 hours, he’s lost Hugh Hewitt.
The conservative talk show host had been a strong supporter of Trump arguing Republicans must back him to get a conservative justice on the Supreme Court.
Carly Fiorina, who lost to Trump in the GOP primary, called for him to step aside and for the Republican Party to run vice president nominee Mike Pence in his place.
Add senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ), neither of whom endorsed Trump, to the growing list of prominent and elected republicans to get out.
But, this would be significantly easier said than done according to a leading Republican election lawyer.
“People in the GOP are understandably nervous. People are looking for an escape,” Ben Ginsberg told NPR. “The rules don’t provide a ready-made escape. Nor do ballot rules, nor the electoral college. While people are looking for an out, this die was cast in Cleveland.”
Ginsberg, who is a partner at the Jones Day law firm, spoke with the NPR Politics Podcast.
“The RNC rules allow for replacement of a candidate on death or declining the nomination, but no provision for replacing,” said Ginsberg. “At this stage, Donald Trump would have to resign. There’s no way to stage a coup.”
If Trump were to resign, Ginsberg says, the GOP would have to go through a complicated process to nominate a new candidate.
“Under the rules, if there is a vacancy, it doesn’t go to the VP candidate. It’s a matter of rules. It can be anyone. Part of what the RNC would have to do is figure out the nomination rules to see who would be eligible. It’s an all-bets-are-off scenario. There might be a political consensus for Mike Pence, but it is not mandated by the rules,” he said.
But it is four weeks from election day. And the idea of a drawn out fight over the top ticket is almost politically unfathomable.
Elected republicans aren’t waiting. They are now running away from their party’s nominee. Senator Kelly Ayotte who is in a tough race for re-election and never endorsed Trump, now says she won’t vote for him either.
Congresswoman Martha Roby in deep red Alabama says she can’t support him either.
The reason is simple, as seasoned political analyst Stuart Rothenberg put it on Twitter, “This certainly raises the possibility of a down-ballot bloodbath for Republicans.”
Trump was initially supposed to attend a rally today in Wisconsin with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Then after the video release, it was announced that Pence would attend in Trump’s place. Now the Trump campaign confirms Pence won’t be attending the rally either.
Sen. John Thune (R-SD), a member of the GOP’s leadership, tweeted that Trump should drop out immediately.
For elected Republicans, it is rapidly becoming clear that merely rejecting Trump’s remarks isn’t enough. Every one of them can expect to be asked whether they are withdrawing their endorsements and whether they will even vote for their party’s nominee.
Republicans Calling For Trump To Step Aside
- Sen. John Thune (South Dakota): Third highest ranking Republican in the Senate, previously said he would support the nominee
- Sen. Mark Kirk (Illinois): Has run campaign ads distancing himself from Trump.
- Sen. Ben Sasse (Nebraska): Prominent “Never Trumper”
- Sen. Deb Fischer (Nebraska): Rescinds previous endorsement
- Sen. Mike Crapo (Idaho): Rescinds previous endorsement
- Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia): Said the “appropriate next step may be for him to reexamine his candidacy,” rescinds previous endorsement
- Sen. Dan Sullivan (Alaska): Rescinds previous endorsement
- Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska): Tweeted that Trump has “forfeited the right to be our party’s nominee.”
- Sen. Cory Gardner (Colorado): Rescinds previous endorsement
- Sen. Jeff Flake (Arizona): Did not endorse Trump previously
- Rep. Martha Roby (Alabama): Rescinds previous endorsement
- Rep. Bradley Byrne (Alabama): Rescinds previous endorsement
- Sen. Mike Lee (Utah): Did not endorse Trump previously
- Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Utah): Rescinds previous endorsement
- Rep. Mia Love (Utah)
- Rep. Chris Stewart (Utah): Rescinds previous endorsement
- Rep. Barbara Comstock (Virginia)
- Rep. Mike Coffman (Colorado)
- Rep. Charlie Dent (Pennsylvania): Previously said he is not voting for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton in the general election
- Rep. Ann Wagner (Missouri): Rescinds previous endorsement
- Rep. Rodney Davis (Illinois): Rescinds previous endorsement
- Rep. Fred Upton (Michigan)
- Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (Nebraska)
- Gov. Dennis Daugaard (South Dakota): Rescinds previous endorsement
- Joe Heck, Republican Senate Candidate (Nevada): Running for Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid’s seat
- Carly Fiorina, former presidential candidate
- George Pataki, former New York governor
- Jon Huntsman, former Utah governor
- Hugh Hewitt, conservative radio talk show host, previous Trump backer