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Trump's Tape Scandal: The Latest Updates

A growing number of Republican elected officials demand their party’s presidential nominee step aside.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is seen in a video screengrab as he apologizes for lewd comments he made about women. Donald Trump / Reuters

With only 28 days to go until Election Day, a growing number of elected Republicans are demanding Donald Trump, their party’s nominee for president, step down.

The burgeoning revolt comes after the Washington Post published a 2005 video clip in which Trump brags about groping women without their consent. “Grab them by the pussy,” he is heard saying at one point. “You can do anything.” Trump has weathered no shortage of scandals over the past 15 months of his presidential run, but his recorded descriptions of what amounts to sexual assault are prompting Republican legislators and governors to forcefully denounce him and demand he withdraw from the race.

We’ll be tracking the latest news about the fallout from the tape scandal below.

More of our coverage:

• David Graham on the tape that threatens to fell Trump and where Republican office-holders stand.

• Ron Brownstein on Trump becoming a ‘political black hole’ for the GOP.

• Molly Ball on Trump's toxic brand of masculinity.

• David Graham’s roundup of the many scandals of Donald Trump.

• James Fallows’s Trump Time Capsules on the modern Manchurian candidate, Republicans repudiating Trump, and Howard Stern.

The Atlantic's editors on the case for Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump.

Updates

No new updates

Trump Tweets Back

On Monday morning, House Speaker Paul Ryan told his GOP colleagues he would not campaign with or defend Donald Trump in response to the presidential candidate’s lewd marks about groping women, according to news reports.

On Monday afternoon, Trump responded:

Ryan has not withdrawn his official endorsement of Trump, but he’s part of a growing chorus of Republicans who have denounced Trump’s comments, which he made in 2005 during the filming of an episode of Access Hollywood.

Paul Ryan Says He Won't Defend Trump

Joshua Roberts / Reuters

The House speaker told House GOP lawmakers in a phone call Monday morning that he would not defend or campaign with Donald Trump in the remaining days of the election. Ryan said his focus is to maintain a Republican majority in the chamber.

The Washington Post reports Ryan essentially gave lawmakers permission to publicly distance themselves from Trump. “You all need to do what’s best for you and your district,” he said on the call.

But Ryan, the highest-ranking elected Republican in the country, stopped short of rescinding his endorsement of Trump.

Ryan has publicly said he was “disgusted” by Trump’s remarks about groping women, which were first reported by the Post on Friday. Ryan canceled a campaign appearance alongside Trump in Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin over the weekend.

Clinton Opens a Double-Digit Lead

Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll finds Hillary Clinton leading a two-way race against Donald Trump 52 to 38, and a four-way battle, 46 to 35.

The poll took place on Saturday and Sunday, but before Sunday night’s debate. Last Wednesday, the New York Times reported that Clinton surging back into the lead was only half the story; “private polling by both parties shows an even more precipitous drop, especially among independent voters, moderate Republicans and women.” Then came the release of an 11-year-old video on Friday, showing Trump boasting about groping women.

The poll offers a remarkable snapshot of the race for many reasons. For one, it implies that Democrats—who lead a generic ballot question 49 to 42—could retake both the House and Senate. For another, Trump’s abysmally low numbers test the limits of negative partisanship. Both candidates are assumed to have the bedrock support of about 40 percent of the electorate; general elections are waged for those who remain. But Trump, somehow, has dipped below that threshold.

There are lots of reasons for caveats. It’s a single poll, and at this point, it’s an outlier. It used a relatively small sample of 500 voters, and it was taken in just two days, over a holiday weekend, during a rapidly evolving news cycle. But what would it mean if other polls confirm these findings?

On the one hand, when candidates take a hit, they tend to bounce back. Those inclined toward them, or at least to the party that nominated them, often return to their political home after having time to absorb the negative story. So in the normal course of events, trailing by double digits is likely a low ebb for Trump.

On the other, though, there’s nothing remotely normal about the course of this particular election. Republican leaders have abandoned Trump in droves; as Marina just reported, Paul Ryan has now effectively conceded the election, and turned House members loose to fend for themselves. If there are Republican voters standing by Trump out of a sense of partisan loyalty, it’s possible that they’ve taken their signal from the party’s leadership, and won’t be coming back to Trump. A candidate known for shattering precedents could break some more before he’s done.

Bill Haslam: Trump Should 'Step Aside'

Mike Theiler / Reuters

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam urged Donald Trump to step aside and let his running mate Mike Pence take his place on Sunday afternoon, saying he would write in another name if Trump remained.

According to the Tennessean, Haslam is the first major Tennessee Republican to fully reject the party’s presidential candidate. He previously did not endorse Trump after he formally received the nomination this summer. Haslam’s statement:

I want to emphasize that character in our leaders does matter. None of us in elected office are perfect, but the decisions that are made in the Oval Office have too many consequences to ignore the behavior we have seen.

It is time for the good of the nation and the Republican Party for Donald Trump to step aside and let Gov. Mike Pence assume the role as the party’s nominee. If he does not step aside, I will write in a Republican for the office of President.

Obama on Trump: 'He Bumps Himself Up by Putting Other People Down'

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

President Obama has not been shy when it comes to denouncing Donald Trump’s controversial remarks throughout the election. And on Sunday, he again made that clear at a campaign event for Illinois Representative Tammy Duckworth.

Nearly 48 hours after The Washington Post released a 2005 audio recording of Donald Trump making lewd comments about women, the president expressed his concern about the Republican nominee’s rhetoric. “I don’t need to repeat it. There are children in the room. But demeaning women, degrading women, but also minorities, immigrants, people of other faiths, the disabled, insulting our troops, insulting our veterans—that tells you a couple of things.” He added: “It tells you he is insecure enough that he bumps himself up by putting other people down.”

In response, Obama urged those in the audience to “work hard” ahead of Election Day. The president has some leverage. His approval rating reached its highest point of his second term in office, according to a CNN / ORC poll released this month. During his remarks Sunday, Obama also made mention of First lady Michelle Obama, who has also been a key surrogate for Clinton. A Gallup poll found that 64 percent of Americans view Michelle Obama favorably. And in the next couple of weeks, the two will likely put to force their popularity.

'What Oozes From This Audio Is Evil'

Mark Kauzlarich / Reuters

If Utah is against Trump, just who is the state for?

Utah is as red as any state in the Union. It boasts a Republican governor, two Republican senators, and four Republican members of Congress. Orrin Hatch, one of the senators, and Rob Bishop, one of the representatives, have condemned Trump’s remarks ever as they stand by their candidate. But the rest of the state’s political leadership—including former Republican nominee Mitt Romney, and former Governor Jon Huntsman—now stand opposed to Trump.

And on Sunday, the editorial page of the Deseret News, widely believed by Mormons to reflect the views of the church that owns it, called on Trump to drop out:

What oozes from this audio is evil. We hear a married man give smooth, smug and self-congratulatory permission to his intense impulses, allowing them to outweigh the most modest sense of decency, fidelity and commitment. And although it speaks volumes about sexual morality, it goes to the heart of all ethical behavior. Trump’s banter belies a willingness to use and discard other human beings at will. That characteristic is the essence of a despot.

Salt Lake City is home to Gary Johnson’s Libertarian campaign, and the independent candidate Evan McMullin, a Mormon, has likewise made it a prime focus. “Utah is important to us. We expect to prevail there,” McMullin recently told my colleague Emma Green. Trump’s support in Utah is thin; he carried less than 14 percent of the vote in the state’s Republican caucus. There hasn’t been much polling in the state; the last numbers are from mid-September. At that point, Trump had about a third of the vote, Clinton a quarter, and Johnson just 12 percent.

Now, BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins reports, there’s a movement to coalesce behind McMullin. He’s apparently trying to line up endorsements from disaffected Republicans.

In 1972, the Libertarian candidate, John Hospers, received a single electoral vote—but it came from a “faithless elector.” Not since 1968, when George Wallace’s pro-segregation ticket carried five states in the deep south, has a third-party candidate won electoral votes by carrying a state in a general election. McMullin could break that streak.

Will Trump's Bite Live up to His Bark?

Reuters

Donald Trump is fond of talking tough about people who aren’t there—and then backing down when they show up in person. Is that what’s ahead in Sunday night’s debate?

Trump and his advisers intimated he’d come out swinging at the first presidential debate, targeting what they describe as Hillary Clinton’s attacks on women alleging they’d had affairs with Bill Clinton, or that he had sexually assaulted them. Instead, he turned in a subdued appearance, failing to raise Benghazi or his border wall, much less more personal attacks. His son Eric later relayed his father’s explanation: “I wasn’t gonna respond to that question because I saw Chelsea in the front row and I just wasn’t gonna go there out of respect for her.” Eric said he was “proud” of his father for taking the “high road.”

Perhaps so. But that’s hard to square with Trump’s conduct before or since, when he hasn’t hesitated to raise such allegations. In his initial non-apology after the tapes surfaced, he said, “Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course.” And then, when he actually did apologize in a longer statement, he said:

I've said some foolish things, but there's a big difference between the words and actions of other people. Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims. We will discuss this more in the coming days. See you at the debate on Sunday.

That, along with Trump’s retweets of Juanita Broaddrick, and an intensive effort by the Trump-aligned outlet Breitbart to highlight the claims of Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, and Paula Jones, have been widely interpreted as signals that he intends to abandon the “high road” at Sunday’s debate.

But whether he follows through is another matter entirely. On Sunday, Reince Priebus, the RNC chair, and Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, both discovered last-minute scheduling conflicts that prevented them from making the rounds of the morning shows. Instead, the campaign sent out former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani as its surrogate. And he had a different message for Chuck Todd:

I believe he will not bring up Bill Clinton’s personal life. I do believe there’s a possibility he will talk about Hillary Clinton’s personal situation, if it gets to that. I don’t think he prefers to do that.

As my colleague Peter Beinart has noted, this is something of a well-established pattern for Trump. He has spoken of black communities in harsh terms, and then offered only mild words in front of black audiences. He blustered for months about making Mexico pay for a border wall, and then appeared, smiling, at a press conference with Mexico’s president, doing his best to side-step the issue. It’s an open question whether he’ll do the same once more this evening in St. Louis.

Greg Abbott: 'Dire' Consequences for Trump Without 'True Contrition'

Mike Stone / Reuters

Texas Governor Greg Abbott described Trump’s taped conversation as “deeply disturbing” in a Sunday afternoon tweet. But what stood out was his warning: “Absent true contrition, consequences will be dire.”

Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate, set up a similar redemption narrative for the candidate yesterday. “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,” he said in his statement, referring to tonight’s debate in St. Louis.

Will Trump show “true contrition” there? Faced with a likely deathblow to his presidential campaign, it’s possible he could make an attempt at humility that would keep skeptical Republican leaders on board. But Trump’s public persona is also partially built on his singular unwillingness to apologize when other politicians would. His tendency to lash out when pressured, as shown by his performance in the first debate, could also foil any attempts at a convincing show of penitence.

Trump Replies to GOP Critics: 'Self-Righteous Hypocrites'

Carlos Barria / Reuters

Twelve hours before he faces Hillary Clinton in the second presidential debate in St. Louis tonight, Donald Trump is taking aim at members of his own political party.

The Republican nominee fired off a salvo of tweets—his preferred method of replying to critics—at the dozens of dissident GOP elected officials who renounced him on Sunday morning. At one point, he suggests his supporters should abandon "self-righteous hypocrites" further down-ballot.

Trump also manually retweeted some of his supporters, including an account that described his Republican opponents as "traitors" who are "destroying America".

Trump also tweeted a link to an interview with Juanita Broaddrick, who accused Bill Clinton of rape in 1999, in a possible hint at his strategy for tonight’s debate. Clinton has strongly denied her allegations.

Trump’s remarks in the 2005 tape are expected to be front and center in tonight’s debate CNN’s Brian Stelter reported Sunday morning that moderators Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz plan to ask both Clinton and Trump about the scandal in their first questions.

An Endorsement That Breaks With a Century of Tradition

(Wikimedia)

For the first time in a century, the Columbus Dispatch endorsed a Democrat.

The stakes are too high to sit out this election and risk letting Trump misuse the awesome power of the presidency. The Dispatch urges voters to elect Hillary Clinton.

Ohio is a critical battleground. On the eve of the first presidential debate, it appeared that Clinton was ceding the state to Trump. But polls since then have shown Trump’s lead dwindling, or even evaporating entirely—a CBS News Battleground poll on Sunday found Clinton with a 4-point lead.

There’s still a month until election day, but in Ohio, that’s just the finish line: Early voting in the Buckeye state starts this Wednesday. Wavering voters who find their choices unpalatable may take some comfort in knowing that they’re not alone. “The Dispatch Editorial Board does not take this lightly and found the choice between two flawed candidates to be unpleasant,” its editor, Alan Miller, explained. “But the board sees the endorsement process as part of its civic duty.” It is its first endorsement of a Democrat since 1916, when the paper backed Woodrow Wilson.

In most elections, there’s little suspense in watching which presidential candidates editorial boards choose to endorse. Conservative publications dutifully laud the GOP nominee, and liberal papers pen paeans to the Democrat. But in this, as in so much else, 2016 is proving to be different. For the first time, USA Today endorsed a candidate. The Atlantic made the third endorsement in its 159-year history. And a long parade of conservative papers have joined the Dispatch in breaking with their own history to stand against Donald Trump.

Will it change any minds? Endorsements usually don’t. But in this case, the Dispatch adds its voice to a mounting chorus insisting that Trump is unacceptable. A third of the Republicans in the United States Senate now say so, too.

But for the editors of the Dispatch, the impact on the present may not be the point. Newspapers are steeped in their history. They bother to look up what they’ve done in the past, in other extraordinary moments. Editors read old endorsements, and imagine their successors someday reading theirs. And nationally, the trend is clear—and with the exception of a handful of papers, most notably the National Enquirer, universal. The editors expecting to be judged by posterity are endorsing Hillary Clinton, or Gary Johnson, or in some cases simply urging a vote against the Republican nominee. But they are standing against Trump.

Poll: Republican Voters Stand By Trump

(Eduardo Munoz / Reuters)

The GOP’s elected officials may be bailing on Trump, but there’s no indication that voters are doing the same.

A poll conducted on Saturday found that just 12 percent of Republicans want Trump to drop out, and that three-quarters want their party to stick with its nominee.

The Politico/Morning Consult survey showed an online panel the full video, and asked them how they felt. Seventy-four percent reacted negatively; 61 percent reported it made them feel somewhat or much less favorably toward Trump. But, as with everything else in 2016, there was a sharp partisan split. Only 48 percent of Republicans said it made them feel less favorably toward their candidate, and more than a third said it made no difference.

The survey found Clinton maintaining a four-point lead over Trump in both a two-way and a four-way race.

The results suggest the power of what political scientists term “negative partisanship,” the rooting of political identities less on loyalty to one party than on a visceral loathing for the other and for all it stands. That means that voters tend to believe that their own candidates’ sins pale in comparison to the misdeeds of their rivals. Republican men and women, for example, were equally unlikely to say that their party’s leadership should abandon the nominee—just 13 percent agreeing. But among self-identified independents, there was a pronounced gender gap, with 36 percent of men and 48 percent of women urging GOP leaders to bail.

These results are an early look at public reaction to an evolving story. Only a third of Republicans and independents in the panel reported having heard “a lot” about the video, compared to more than half of Democrats. Incessant media coverage may change minds. The stampede of Republican officials away from their nominee, moreover, may signal to party stalwarts that it’s now acceptable to break ranks.

But if the results hold up, they may complicate the picture for Republican office holders. The even this poll still shows Trump losing, and the reactions to the video suggest he’ll have a harder time than ever broadening his appeal. In the coming days, there will be many more polls—including those with more conventional methodologies and longer sampling times, reaching voters by mobile and landlines, and allowing them space to absorb what they’ve seen. But this first survey raises a possibility that many officials appear not to have seriously contemplated—that negative partisanship is so strong, Trump voters are willing to overlook even this.

SNL Skewers Trump for 'Appligizing' About His Remarks

NBC

At first, it looked like Saturday Night Live wouldn’t address Trump’s latest scandal. The show’s cold open began with a rote reenactment of Tuesday’s vice-presidential debate, like it has in years past. Neither cast member’s impersonation of Tim Kaine or Mike Pence managed to strike comedic gold.

Then a breaking-news banner flashed across the screen, and the camera cut to Cecily Strong playing CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin. “Well, it looks like Donald Trump finally got what he wanted: a working microphone," she said.

In a split screen appeared Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump—eyes squinted, lips puckered, hair coiffed. As Strong tried to avoid saying the real-life Trump’s actual remarks, Baldwin took his lapel-pin microphone, pressed it close to his face, and loudly repeated them verbatim and unbleeped.

Like Trump, Baldwin then offered a perfunctory defense of “his” actions. “This was way back in 2005,” Baldwin said. “It was 11 years ago back when I was just a young, childish, 59-year-old man.”

But the fake Trump also struck a conciliatory note, saying he “appligized” for the remarks.

“I’m sorry, it sounds like you’re trying to say ‘apologize’?” Strong asked.

“No, I would never do that,” a sweating, heavily bronzed Baldwin-as-Trump intoned.

The show then cut to Hillary Clinton’s headquarters—a gyrating crowd, the candidate in a hot pink jacket, swilling champagne, and struggling to suppress her glee as she condemned the remarks.

“Do you want him to drop out?” Strong asked.

The smile fled Kate McKinnon-as-Clinton’s face.

“Oh no, no, no, no, give him a shot!”

Will the 'Apprentice' Tapes Be the Next Bombshell to Explode?

Just what did Donald Trump say on the set of the reality-tv show that confirmed his celebrity?

More than a year ago, my colleague Conor Friedersdorf demanded that NBC release the raw footage of The Apprentice, the show that helped make Donald Trump’s national reputation:

Let voters see what Trump was really like while the show was being filmed, for better or worse; let them judge if the hours that they spent with the billionaire left an accurate impression or constituted a false portrayal of someone less presidential than he seemed.

In September, he renewed his case:

With Trump, however, the truth matters. Americans must decide whether he is qualified to preside over the executive branch of planet earth’s most powerful country.

It turns out, though, it’s apparently not NBC’s decision to make. Politico’s Hadas Gold reports that the tapes don’t actually belong to NBC—they’re reportedly controlled by Apprentice producer Mark Burnett. He’s still close to Trump, but is likely to face mounting pressure to release the tapes. There may be others who worked on the set with recordings; if so, the dramatic example of the tapes released Friday may prompt them to step forward.

Even though they haven’t been released, the Apprentice tapes are already reshaping the race. It was an Associated Press report on what Trump had said and done on the set of The Apprentice that prompted Access Hollywood to go looking through its own archives, and to unearth the recording that shook the campaign on Friday afternoon. Trump has spent decades courting media attention. It’s a safe bet that other producers are looking back through their own archives this weekend, and reviewing what they caught on camera, too.

Rob Portman: 'I Will Be Voting for Mike Pence'

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Ohio Senator Rob Portman said Saturday night he “can no longer support” Donald Trump’s candidacy and will vote for Mike Pence instead.

As I said yesterday, Donald Trump’s comments were offensive and wrong. I had hoped to support the candidate my party nominated in the primary process. I thought it was appropriate to respect the millions of voters across the country who chose Donald Trump as the Republican Party nominee. While I continue to respect those who still support Donald Trump, I can no longer support him. I continue to believe our country cannot afford a Hillary Clinton presidency. I will be voting for Mike Pence for President.

Portman is up for re-election in November and faces Democrat Ted Strickland, against whom he has opened up a comfortable lead in recent polls.

Is the GOP Pulling the Plug on Trump?

Mike Segar / Reuters

Donald Trump insists he won’t quit, but according to the Wall Street Journal, the Republican National Committee has finally had enough:

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Saturday told party officials to redirect funds away from nominee Donald Trump to down-ballot candidates, according to an official informed of the decision. In practical terms, the party will be working to mobilize voters who support GOP House and Senate candidates regardless of their position on the presidential race.

That means the RNC will push Floridians who support both Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio to vote. Before today, the RNC wouldn’t have sought to turn out Clinton voters, leaving split-ticket voters for Senate campaigns to target.

This amounts to closing the barn door after the cows are gone. The RNC and its chair, Reince Priebus, did little to block Donald Trump’s path to the nomination, and then stood by their candidate for months, through an incessant parade of controversy. Making a move now looks less like a stand on principle than a desperate effort to staunch the bleeding.

But there are two reasons to think it may nevertheless have unusual significance. The first is that Donald Trump has failed to do what every other major-party nominee in recent history has done: Build a national field operation capable of turning out voters on election day. He has, instead, leaned heavily on national, state, and local parties to fund and staff field offices. The election is a month away, and Trump’s bare-bones campaign seems incapable of mounting its own last-minute get out the vote operation. Instead of getting a boost from RNC efforts, he now risks having them undermine his candidacy.

The second is that, as my colleague Ron Brownstein has written, the sort of ticket-splitting on which the RNC is pinning its hopes has become vanishingly rare in recent years. In 1972, 28 percent of voters backed on party’s presidential candidate, and the other’s Senate candidate. By 2012, just 12 percent of voters did the same. This has been an unusual election, to say the least—and this could be just another trend that gets reversed. But it does underscore the extraordinary challenge that the Republican Party now faces, and the risks that attend to any of the unpalatable options before it.

Update: The RNC’s chief strategist and communications director, Sean Spicer, has taken to Twitter to deny the report.

Condoleezza Rice: Trump 'Should Withdraw'

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a veteran of the George W. Bush administration, also says Trump should withdraw. Rice previously declined to be considered for Trump's running mate and did not attend the Republican National Convention in July.

John McCain Withdraws Support for Trump Over 'Boasts About Sexual Assaults'

Marko Djurica / Reuters

Arizona Senator John McCain withdrew his support from Donald Trump on Saturday afternoon, citing Trump’s “boasts about sexual assaults,” and said he would write in another conservative’s name in November.

The two men long had a contentious relationship. In July 2015, Trump drew mild rebukes when he said McCain, who was a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, wasn’t a war hero. “He’s a war hero because he was captured,” Trump explained. “I like people who weren’t captured.”

For his part, McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee for president, frequently criticized Trump during past scandals. But he also ultimately maintained his support for his 2016 counterpart. The longtime Arizona senator is also up for re-election and maintains a comfortable lead in the polls.

With the loss of McCain's endorsement, Trump now lacks support from four out of the five living Republican presidential standard-bearers. Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush previously declined to endorse him, while Mitt Romney actively opposes his candidacy. Bob Dole, the party’s 1996 nominee, said in July, “I think Trump’s going to make a great president.”

McCain's full statement:

In addition to my well known differences with Donald Trump on public policy issues, I have raised questions about his character after his comments on Prisoners of War, the Khan Gold Star family, Judge Curiel and earlier inappropriate comments about women. Just this week, he made outrageous statements about the innocent men in the Central Park Five case.

As I said yesterday, there are no excuses for Donald Trump’s offensive and demeaning comments in the just released video; no woman should ever be victimized by this kind of inappropriate behavior. He alone bears the burden of his conduct and alone should suffer the consequences.

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. Cindy, with her strong background in human rights and respect for women fully agrees with me in this.

Cindy and I will not vote for Donald Trump. I have never voted for a Democratic presidential candidate and we will not vote for Hillary Clinton. We will write in the name of some good conservative Republican who is qualified to be President.

Republican Women Denounce Trump

Trump has long trailed behind Hillary Clinton among women. A PRRI / The Atlantic poll released this week found Clinton ahead of Trump among women. In July, a Morning Consult poll found 44 percent of women backed Clinton, compared to Trump’s 36 percent. Still, the Republican nominee has garnered support among some women in Congress. That changed on Saturday.

A number of Republican women have began to withdraw their support. Of the six Republican women serving in the U.S. Senate, several pulled their support. Iowa Senator Joni Ernst also denounced Trump’s comments, but did not withdraw her support of the nominee.

“I wanted to be able to support my party’s nominee, chosen by the people, because I feel strongly that we need a change in direction for our country,” Ayotte said in a statement. Maine Senator Susan Collins, who said in August she would not back Trump, denounced Trump’s remarks to the Portland Press Herald: “Donald Trump’s lewd comments are the latest in a series of remarks he has made ranging from inappropriate to reprehensible that demonstrate why he is unsuitable for the presidency. It was comments like these, including the statements he made about John McCain, a disabled reporter, the family of a fallen soldier and more, that caused me to decide this summer that I could not support his candidacy.”

Carly Fiorina, a former Republican presidential candidate, also chimed in, saying in a Facebook post: “Donald Trump does not represent me or my party. I understand the responsibility of Republicans to support their nominee.”

Trump has made offensive comments toward women before and has continued to do so throughout the election. Following a Republican primary debate moderated by Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, he said she had “blood coming out of her wherever.” Trump also criticized Fiorina, saying, “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?”

But the release of a 2005 audio recording revealing Trump’s lewd comments about women appears to be the last straw. One conservative female operative told Politico: “I think every one of these comments he makes about women is disturbing enough, but the magnitude over a period is just too much.”

My colleague Clare Foran asked in August: “Will Donald Trump permanently alienate Republican women?” At this rate, he might well be on the way.

Joe Biden on Trump's Tape: 'It's Not Lewd. It's Sexual Assault.'

Vice President Joe Biden delivers a speech in Riga, Latvia.
Ints Kalnins / Reuters

Most prominent Democrats are staying quiet as Trump's tape scandal grows. But Vice President Joe Biden issued a brief message on Twitter. While he doesn't mention Trump by name, Biden does describe his actions as "sexual assault."

The subject is an important one for the vice president. Biden drafted the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 while he served in the Senate, and pushed strongly for its reauthorization in 2013.

Trump on Calls to Withdraw: 'I Will Never Drop Out of the Race'

The growing chorus of GOP office-holders hasn’t swayed the Republican nominee so far. From his Twitter account:

Hours earlier, Trump told the Wall Street Journal there was “zero chance” he would drop out. "The support I’m getting is unbelievable, because Hillary Clinton is a horribly flawed candidate," he added.

If Trump leaves the ticket, it will have to be his own choice. A combination of legal and logistical hurdles make it effectively impossible for the Republican National Committee to remove him against his will.

Paul Ryan on Trump Tape: 'It Is a Troubling Situation'

Andrew Harnik / AP

The Republican party is in disarray, after a 2005 recording obtained by The Washington Post revealed Donald Trump bragging about groping women. But Paul Ryan, the nation’s highest-ranking Republican elected official, only briefly acknowledged recent events.

“There is a bit of an elephant in the room. It is a troubling situation,” Ryan said. “I put out a statement about this last night. I meant what I said and that’s still how I feel.” But he added: “This is not what we are here to talk about today.”

The House speaker was scheduled to appear with Trump in his home state of Wisconsin on Saturday, but uninvited the Republican nominee following the release of the private conversation between Trump and a talk-show host. “I am sickened by what I heard today,” Ryan said on Friday. The Post’s Robert Costa said on Twitter that in the crowd on Saturday, people shouted “What about Trump?" and "You turned your back on him!" when Ryan took the stage.

Trump apologized in a video released early Saturday morning. “I’ve never said I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be a person I’m not,” Trump said. “I’ve said and done things I regret, and the words released today 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. I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize.” But his apology did little to allay the concerns of Republicans.

In less than 24 hours since the Post’s report was published a slew of Republican lawmakers began withdrawing their support. Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, also joined the chorus of Republicans denouncing the party nominee’s comments. “I do not condone his remarks and cannot defend him,” Pence said in a statement.

Trump, for his part, told The Wall Street Journal there is “zero chance I’ll quit.” On Twitter, he reaffirmed that he would not drop out on Saturday afternoon.

Ryan has largely distanced himself from the Republican nominee throughout the election. Still, Ryan has stuck by Trump. On Friday, despite rebuking Trump’s comments, he did not pull his endorsement. And, a day later, there was no indication he would in his remarks. Instead, Ryan focused his attention on Senator Ron Johnson, who is up for reelection. At the very least, Trump’s absence signals that still on the eve of the second presidential debate and only weeks away from Election Day, party unity is still out of reach.

Melania Trump: Donald's Words 'Unacceptable and Offensive'

Melania Trump, wife of Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, speaks during first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 18, 2016. Carolyn Kaster / AP

In a rare foray into the presidential race, Melania Trump issued a short statement through her husband’s campaign that condemned her husband’s “words.” She also said she had accepted his apology.

The words my husband used are unacceptable and offensive to me. This does not represent the man I know. He has the heart and mind of a leader. I hope people will accept his apology, as I have, and focus on the important issues facing our nation in the world.

Melania and Donald married in January 2005, a few months before the video was made.

Alaska's Senators Demand Trump's Withdrawal From the Race

Alaska Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, who are both Republicans, have urged Trump to step aside in favor of his running mate Mike Pence. Murkowski made the announcement in a terse message on Twitter Saturday afternoon.

Sullivan issued a longer statement that denounced Trump and invoked his past efforts to “combat sexual assault and domestic violence.” He also criticized Hillary Clinton and her husband, whom he said “have their own sordid history of abuse of women.”

John Kasich: 'Our Country Deserves Better' Than Trump

Aaron Josefczyk / Reuters

Ohio Governor John Kasich was one of the few contenders from the Republican primary who still refused to endorse Trump before the current scandal, even going so far as to not attend the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this summer. In a statement issued Saturday afternoon, Kasich said he “cannot and should not support” his party’s nominee.

Nothing that has happened in the last 48 hours is surprising to me or many others. Many people were angry and questioned why I would not endorse Donald Trump or attend the Republican Convention. I've long had concerns with Donald Trump that go beyond his temperament. We have substantive policy differences on conservative issues like trade, our relationship with Russia, and the importance of balancing the federal budget. I've held out hope that he would change on those disqualifying policy positions, but he has not. I've also encouraged him to change his behavior for the better and offer a positive, inclusive vision for our country, but he has not. It's clear that he hasn't changed and has no interest in doing so. As a result, Donald Trump is a man I cannot and should not support. The actions of the last day are disgusting, but that's not why I reached this decision, it has been an accumulation of his words and actions that many have been warning about. I will not vote for a nominee who has behaved in a manner that reflects so poorly on our country. Our country deserves better.

Arnold Schwarzenegger: I Won't Vote for Trump

Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger hadn’t endorsed any candidate yet on the presidential race. Now he says in a statement on Twitter he won’t vote for the Republican nominee for the first time in more than three decades.

Among Republican office-holders, Schwarzenegger's career might be the most similar to Trump's. Like the real-estate businessman, he leveraged his show-business persona into a political career. Schwarzenegger also faced a sexual-misconduct scandal on the eve of an election after six women accused him of groping them between the 1970s and 2000s. The story broke five days before California's 2003 gubernatorial election, which Schwarzenegger won.

In another striking parallel, Schwarzenegger will take the helm of NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice in January, the TV show that helped build Trump’s public image ahead of his presidential run.

Mike Pence on Trump's Remarks: 'I Cannot Defend Them'

Mike Pence, Trump’s vice-presidential running mate, denounced Trump’s comments in a new statement Saturday afternoon. He also says Trump will “show what is in his heart” during Sunday’s presidential debate.

As a husband and a father, I was offended by the words and actions described by Donald Trump in the 11-year-old video released yesterday. 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.