Trump, in an apparent attempt at cleaning up the mess, issued a statement in which he said, “Governor Mike Pence will be representing me tomorrow in Wisconsin.” He said he would spend his Saturday prepping for Sunday’s second presidential debate, working with Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Chris Christie, and Jeff Sessions.
But the backlash extended well beyond Ryan. Priebus himself issued a statement condemning Trump. “No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever,” he said.
There were signs that the damage could be wider-spread still. The Associated Press reported that Pence, Trump’s vice-presidential running mate, was “beside himself” and that his wife was “furious” over the comments. There was speculation among reporters and politicos about whether Trump might be removed, or forced to remove himself, from the GOP ticket, though the seriousness of such discussions was unclear. It’s not clear what mechanisms party leaders might have to force Trump out, nor how that patchwork of state elections laws might affect such a decision. Indeed, early voting has already begun in several states and, presumably, ballots have been cast for the Republican presidential nominee.
Among other high-profile Republicans who have endorsed Trump, there was further backlash. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, an erstwhile rival of Trump’s for the presidential nomination, tweeted:
Governor Scott Walker also condemned Trump:
Neither man directly withdrew his endorsement, however.
Senator Ted Cruz, another former rival who recently endorsed Trump, tweeted that “Every wife, mother, daughter—every person—deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.” Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, a Republican, called on Trump to drop out, and current Governor Gary Herbert, also a Republican, said he could not vote for Trump. Longstanding Trump critics like Senators Jeff Flake and Mark Kirk piled on, too.
The Trump video features a long list of offensive comments.
“I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married,” Trump says. “Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.”
As actress Arianne Zucker approaches to lead them on to the set, Trump continues, “I’ve gotta use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her. You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything.”