Republican candidates have mixed views on Trump
Democrats and some Republicans call on Trump to end his campaign
Republican legislators and candidates in Pennsylvania continue to scramble about whether they will support GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Katie McGinty continued her all-out assault against sitting Republican rival Sen. Pat Toomey Monday morning for failing to denounce Trump.
“Pat Toomey isn’t being brave and he’s not being principled,” said McGinty spokesman Sean Coit in a release. “He’s trying to make a political calculation to save his own career, and it’s pathetic to watch.”
Trump has been roundly criticized after audio recordings from 2005 surfaced Friday in which he describes sexually assaulting women and attempting to seduce a married woman.
The Republican nominee was shedding supporters over the comments throughout the weekend, including U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7, of Chadds Ford, who deemed Trump’s decadeold statements “vile,” “appalling” and “offensive.”
“Millions of Americans oppose Hillary Clinton’s liberal, progressive agenda, but it’s clear that Donald Trump is not the right leader for the fight against it,” Meehan said in an interview with CBSphilly.com over the weekend. “For the good of the country, the Republican Party, and his family, I hope he’ll step aside and end his candidacy for president so that we can come together as a party and defeat Hillary Clinton.”
A spokesperson for House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., told the Washington Times Monday that he will focus entirely on congressional races because he did not want to hand Clinton a “blank check with a Democrat-controlled Congress” and would not be campaigning for or defending Trump in the run-up to the Nov. 8 election. Ryan reportedly told other Republican lawmakers in a conference call that they should “do what’s best for you and your district.”
Neither Toomey nor Meehan, who faces Democrat Mary Ellen Balchinus in the Nov. 8 election, immediately responded to requests for comment Monday.
Delaware County Republican Party Chairman Andy Reilly denounced Trump’s comments as wrong and offensive,
but said he believed Trump was remorseful for them at the debate. Reilly said he still intends to vote for Trump, saying a Clinton presidency would be disastrous.
“She will destroy the country and her actions have shown it, and frankly while I don’t condone his locker room talk, I still think he’s a better choice to lead our country in a new direction,” said Reilly.
He added that local candidates have always been independent of the national ticket and know they need to court votes from Republicans, Democrats and independents to be successful.
“We don’t speak for Donald Trump and he doesn’t speak for our candidates,” said Reilly. “The people I have talked to, they still want an economic policy and a financial policy that works for them, they want a foreign policy that puts America first and they want a balanced
Supreme Court. They’re still for Donald Trump. It’s about policies.”
On Saturday, U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello, R-6, of West Goshen, weighed in on Trump’s latest comments. “Donald Trump’s comments in the recently released video are atrocious, disrespectful towards women, and are incredibly inappropriate for someone who wants to lead our country,” said a statement on the Costello campaign’s Facebook page.
Costello has distanced himself from the Trump campaign but has not, like his colleagues Meehan and U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, R-15, of Lehigh County, formally disavowed the Republican nominee.
Democrat Mike Parrish, who is running against Costello in the November election, blasted Trump and Costello in a statement.
“Donald Trump’s comments, caught on tape, and released to the media on
Friday are disgusting and deeply disturbing, not to mention totally disqualifying,” Parrish said. “That so many Republican elected officials, including Ryan Costello, continue to stand behind him serves as an embarrassing and constant reminder of my opponent’s failed leadership.
“Beyond the entirely immoral and lewd nature of the comments made by the Republican nominee, the acts Trump describes and brags about in the video are by any definition, including the one used by the Department of Justice, sexual assault and harassment. I have already seen defenders of Trump dismiss his language as ‘crude locker room chatter’. I served in the Army for 30 years and I have never heard something as totally appalling in any locker room or mess hall.”
Toomey tweeted out Friday that Trump’s comments were “outrageous and unacceptable,”
but his support for the Republican presidential candidate was still murky.
Following the second presidential debate with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton Sunday night, Toomey again commented on “the shortcomings of both presidential candidates” in a release Monday.
“I have not endorsed Donald Trump and I have repeatedly spoken out against his flawed policies, and his outrageous comments, including his indefensible and appalling comments about women,” he said in the release.
Toomey, who canceled a scheduled visit to Pottstown High School in Montgomery County Monday morning, went on to say McGinty has failed to criticize Clinton for her “disastrous policies” “widespread dishonesty” and corruption. Toomey did not provide any examples with those claims.
“Pennsylvania deserves a
senator who will cross party lines and provide independent leadership, not a rubber stamp for a very flawed president,” he said.
The McGinty camp meanwhile claimed Toomey canceled the Pottstown visit because he did not want to face reporters on Trump, dubbing him “Fraidy-Pat.”
“Let’s be very clear about what Fraidy-Pat Toomey’s pathetic ‘statement’ this morning really means: He’s standing with Donald Trump after hearing Trump brag about sexually assaulting women,” said Coit. “Pat Toomey doesn’t have the courage to say that a man who brags about sexually assaulting women shouldn’t be president. He doesn’t even have the courage to speak to high school students in Pennsylvania and tell them to their faces why he’s standing with Donald Trump. It’s embarrassing, it’s a shame, and it’s going to cost Sen. Toomey his job.”