Trump dismisses Republican leaders' calls to quit race
NEW YORK (AP):
A defiant Donald Trump insisted yesterday that he would "never" abandon his White House bid, facing an intensifying backlash from Republican leaders across the nation who called for him to quit the race following the release of his vulgar and sexually charged comments caught on tape.
With Republicans from Utah to Alabama to New Hampshire turning their back on their nominee, GOP loyalists like House Speaker Paul Ryan refused to give up on Trump, who has long faced criticism from within his own party, but never to this degree.
Frustration turned to panic across the GOP with early voting already underway in some states and election day one month away.
"As disappointed as I've been with his antics throughout this campaign, I thought supporting the nominee was the best thing for our country and our party," Alabama Republican Martha Roby said in a statement. "Now, it is abundantly clear that the best thing for our country and our party is for Trump to step aside and allow a responsible, respectable Republican to lead the ticket."
Trump was slapped by his own running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who said he was "offended by the words and actions" Trump described in the video.
"I do not condone his remarks and cannot defend them," the Republican vice-presidential nominee said. Having cancelled a scheduled appearance in Wisconsin yesterday afternoon, Pence cited tonight's presidential debate as an opportunity for Trump to "show what is in his heart".
Several of the Republicans who want Trump out say Pence should take his place as the nominee.
Trump, though, declared he would not yield the GOP nomination under any circumstances.
"Zero chance I'll quit," he told The Wall Street Journal.
He told The Washington Post: "I'd never withdraw. I've never withdrawn in my life."
He claimed to have "tremendous support".
In a videotaped midnight apology, Trump declared: "I was wrong and I apologise", after being caught on tape bragging about aggressively groping women in 2005.
He also defiantly dismissed the revelations as "nothing more than a distraction" from a decade ago, and signaled he would press his presidential campaign by arguing that rival Hillary Clinton has committed greater sins against women.