Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said Saturday that Donald Trump may want to “re-examine his candidacy,” in light of remarks released Friday from a 2005 recording.
“As a woman, a mother, and a grandmother to three young girls, I am deeply offended by Mr. Trump’s remarks, and there is no excuse for the disgusting and demeaning language,” Capito said in a statement Saturday morning. “Women have worked hard to gain the dignity and respect we deserve. The appropriate next step may be for him to re-examine his candidacy.”
In the video, released by The Washington Post and NBC News, Trump is heard describing attempts to have sex with a married woman. He also brags about grabbing women and kissing them, and getting away with it because he is famous.
“When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything,” Trump said. He adds seconds later: “Grab them by the p----. You can do anything.”
The remarks prompted several Republican members of Congress to say they would no longer support Trump’s campaign or vote for him.
Capito and other West Virginia Republican leaders stopped short of withdrawing their support.
Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Cole said Saturday that Trump’s remarks are offensive. Cole has closely tied his bid for governor in the Mountain State to Trump’s campaign for president.
“As a father of two teenage daughters, I am offended by the remarks Donald Trump made several years ago. I know he has apologized, and I hope that it is a lesson that he will carry with him throughout the rest of the campaign and beyond. Demeaning women is never acceptable,” read Cole’s statement to the Gazette-Mail.
Cole, who is state Senate president, made no mention of withdrawing his support for Trump. He endorsed Trump a week before the West Virginia primary in May and, two days later, appeared with Trump at a rally at the Charleston Civic Center. Trump is also featured in some of Cole’s television ads.
Carly Fiorina, a former Republican presidential candidate, is scheduled to headline the West Virginia Republican Party’s annual dinner later this month. She called on Trump to step aside and for Republicans to replace him with running mate Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
Trump told media outlets Saturday morning he has no plans of dropping out of the race.
“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 I’ve never withdrawn in my life,” Trump told The Washington Post.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.”
Not all Republicans in the state were ready to denounce Trump over his comments.
GOP campaign consultant Greg Thomas, who ran a political action committee in support of Cole, wrote on social media Saturday afternoon that, “If Hillary wins and continues to kill coal mining jobs, let’s remember the actions of Republicans today who have enabled her. I know I will.”
In another post, Thomas tweeted, “Wanting men to be able to use little girl’s restrooms to me is vulgar. Killing unborn children is vulgar. Propping up terrorists is vulgar.”
Polls have shown Trump with a significant lead in the presidential race in West Virginia, even as most national polls show a small advantage for Democrat Hillary Clinton.
U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., said in a statement Saturday that Trump’s comments “were both demeaning and distasteful.”
“Donald Trump’s comments from over a decade ago were wrong then and they are wrong today,” McKinley said. “His language and statements were both demeaning and distasteful, and they don’t represent my values. It’s now incumbent on him to show remorse and prove to the American people these comments don’t reflect his true values.”
U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., called the comments “extremely demeaning and deeply offensive.”
U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., said the comments were offensive. “As a husband and a father of two small girls I find the comments by Donald Trump offensive,” Mooney said in a statement. “I am glad he apologized.”
Belinda Biafore, chairwoman of the West Virginia Democratic Party, said in a statement, “Donald Trump’s comments are unsettling and disturbing to say the least. His remarks are not only offensive, which sadly we’ve grown to expect, they describe unwarranted advances and assault toward women. Just because we expect this type of behavior from Trump doesn’t mean we should stand by and allow him to continue.”