Vul­gar Trump has Repub­li­cans in deep cri­sis mode

The Myanmar Times - - World -

DON­ALD Trump’s lewd video­taped re­marks about women threw his White House cam­paign and the Repub­li­can Party into cri­sis, just 30 days from the elec­tion and on the eve of his sec­ond de­bate with Demo­cratic party ri­val Hil­lary Clin­ton.

Mr Trump nev­er­the­less re­jected grow­ing calls from elected mem­bers of his own party to step aside over the 2005 re­marks, in­sist­ing there is “zero chance I’ll quit” the pres­i­den­tial race.

“We’ll re­mem­ber this day for a long time,” David Ger­gen, who has served as ad­viser to four US pres­i­dents, told CNN.

“A civil war is break­ing out in the Repub­li­can ranks.”

In the early evening hours of Oc­to­ber 8, a de­fi­ant Mr Trump stepped out­side his Trump Tower sky­scraper in New York, bran­dish­ing his fist to cheers from dozens of sup­port­ers.

Asked if he was stay­ing in the race, he said, “100 per­cent.”

Mr Trump’s wife Me­la­nia said she was of­fended by her hus­band’s “un­ac­cept­able and of­fen­sive” com­ments boast­ing about his abil­ity to grope women as he pleases, caught on a hot mic just months after the two mar­ried in the real es­tate mag­nate’s third mar­riage.

But she urged Amer­i­can vot­ers to sup­port him.

“I hope peo­ple will ac­cept his apol­ogy, as I have, and fo­cus on the im­por­tant is­sues fac­ing our na­tion and the world,” Ms Trump said.

The video­tape, re­leased on Oc­to­ber 7 by The Wash­ing­ton Post, forced a rare apol­ogy from a cam­paign al­ready pep­pered by con­tro­ver­sies over Mr Trump’s treat­ment of women, roil­ing his Repub­li­can Party.

The Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee ap­peared to have halted part of its “Vic­tory” pro­gram to elect Mr Trump, with the RNC ask­ing a ven­dor to “put a hold” on mail pro­duc­tion, the Politico re­ported.

CNN said the RNC was con­sid­er­ing end­ing a joint fundrais­ing agree­ment with the Trump cam­paign.

Mr Trump called the dis­clo­sure a “dis­trac­tion”, de­fi­antly at­tack­ing the Clin­tons for hus­band Bill Clin­ton’s past in­fi­deli­ties, and hint­ing strongly he would say more on the topic dur­ing the sec­ond de­bate in St Louis, Missouri.

At a cam­paign event, Bill Clin­ton was heck­led by an ap­par­ent Trump supporter who said, “You’re a rapist!” But the ex-pres­i­dent brushed it off as an at­tempt by Repub­li­cans to “make it up” after the back­lash over Mr Trump’s vul­gar com­ments.

Mr Trump de­nied his cam­paign was in cri­sis and pre­dicted the con­tro­versy would blow over.

“The media and es­tab­lish­ment want me out of the race so badly – I WILL NEVER DROP OUT OF THE RACE, WILL NEVER LET MY SUP­PORT­ERS DOWN! #MAGA,” he said on Twit­ter. The hash­tag refers to his cam­paign slo­gan “Make Amer­ica great again”.

Repub­li­can re­ac­tion to the video­tape came fast and fu­ri­ous, with some call­ing on the bom­bas­tic bil­lion­aire to step aside or al­low run­ning mate Mike Pence to take the top of the ticket, and oth­ers sim­ply with­draw­ing their en­dorse­ment.

Mr Pence, the gov­er­nor of In­di­ana, said that as a hus­band and fa­ther he was “of­fended” by Mr Trump’s re­marks.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, the top Repub­li­can of­fice­holder, said he was “sick­ened” by Mr Trump’s com­ments, and dis­in­vited him from a po­lit­i­cal event in Wisconsin.

About a dozen senators, a dozen mem­bers of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and three gov­er­nors – all Repub­li­cans – have with­drawn their

sup­port for Mr Trump.

Among senior party fig­ures, Con­doleezza Rice – a for­mer sec­re­tary of state and se­cu­rity ad­viser un­der pres­i­dent Ge­orge W Bush – said, “Enough! Don­ald Trump should not be Pres­i­dent. He should with­draw.”

Se­na­tor John McCain, the 2008 pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee with whom Mr Trump has sparred re­peat­edly, said, “Trump’s be­hav­iour ... makes it im­pos­si­ble to con­tinue to of­fer even con­di­tional sup­port for his can­di­dacy.”

Gov­er­nor John Ka­sich of Ohio, a con­tender in the Repub­li­can pri­maries, said Mr Trump’s com­ments were “dis­gust­ing” and that “our coun­try de­serves bet­ter.”

Ac­tor-di­rec­tor Robert de Niro weighed in, say­ing, “I’d like to punch him in the face.”

But top Trump sur­ro­gate Rudy Gi­u­liani, a for­mer New York mayor, said, “There is noth­ing that would cause his drop­ping out.”

With the Novem­ber 8 elec­tions one month away and Ms Clin­ton lead­ing in the polls by nearly 5 per­cent­age points na­tion­ally, the lat­est up­roar has plunged Mr Trump into the deep­est cri­sis of his tur­bu­lent cam­paign.

In the video, Mr Trump uses vul­gar and preda­tory lan­guage as he de­scribes grab­bing women’s crotches, and brags about try­ing to have sex with a woman he knew was mar­ried.

– AFP

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