Almost nobody in the Republican Party is defending Donald Trump right now, in the wake of a new Washington Post report showing him speaking in very lewd terms about women in 2005.
And the denunciations that have rolled in so far are coming from all sides of the party — from those who support Trump to those who have long opposed him to those close to him who are offering platitudes about how what he said was wrong, but that he’s still better than Hillary Clinton.
Below, the five emerging categories of Trump critic:
1) Trump opponents going after him — hard
Mitt Romney leads the way here. The 2012 GOP nominee has spoken out against Trump forcefully, and he offered one of the most full-throated statements against him on Friday night:
Hitting on married women? Condoning assault? Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America’s face to the world.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) October 8, 2016
Here’s Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who lost the GOP primary to Trump earlier this year and has declined to back him:
Make no mistake the comments were wrong and offensive. They are indefensible.
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) October 7, 2016
And here’s Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who is defending a swing district in November:
I’m disgusted by Mr. Trump’s comments. I wouldn’t want anyone speaking about my wife, my daughters, or any woman that way. It’s inexcusable.
— Carlos Curbelo (@carloslcurbelo) October 8, 2016
2) Former Trump backers who cut bait
Here’s Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert, who has defended Trump’s comments in the past and said he would support him:
Donald Trump’s statements are beyond offensive & despicable. While I cannot vote for Hillary Clinton, I will not vote for Trump. #utpol
— Gary R. Herbert (@HerbertForUtah) October 8, 2016
And former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, who just last week confirmed he would vote for Trump … won’t.
“In a campaign cycle that has been nothing but a race to the bottom — at such a critical moment for our nation — and with so many who have tried to be respectful of a record primary vote, the time has come for Governor Pence to lead the ticket,” Huntsman told the Salt Lake Tribune.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) rescinded his endorsement as well.
— Ben Winslow (@BenWinslow) October 8, 2016
Per a local report, so did Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), who represents a Denver-area swing district.
And The Post’s Jenna Portnoy reported that Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) had withdrawn her support: “I cannot in good conscience vote for Donald Trump.”
3) Those saying Trump should step aside
Huntsman isn’t the only one suggesting that Trump step aside — even if it’s futile at this point. Here’s former Iowa Republican Party chairman A.J. Spiker:
Donald Trump should resign as the Republican nominee for president, he brags about sexuality harassing women. He is unfit for public office
— AJ Spiker (@AJSpiker) October 7, 2016
In a Facebook video, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), a longtime Trump critic but someone Trump put on his list of potential Supreme Court nominees, called on the GOP nominee to bow out. “I respectfully ask you, with all due respect, to step aside,” he said. “Step down. Allow someone else to carry the banner of [conservative]principles.”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) reacted to revelations that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump bragged about groping women in a 2005 video. (Mike Lee for U.S. Senate)
So did his Senate colleague Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), a Trump opponent who is an underdog in his reelection bid this year:
— Mark Kirk (@SenatorKirk) October 8, 2016
Here’s former New York governor George Pataki, who run for president against Trump:
— George E. Pataki (@GovernorPataki) October 8, 2016
Former John McCain staffer Jeff Weaver said Trump isn’t the only one who should step down — that VP pick Mike Pence should too:
The ticket should resign, not just Trump. The ticket owns the entirety of Trump’s behavior, past and present.
— John Weaver (@JWGOP) October 8, 2016
4) Trump supporters saying there’s no excuse (but don’t say they’re not supporting him)
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), who was due to appear with Trump on Saturday in Wisconsin and said that would no longer be the case:
“I am sickened by what I heard today. Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified. I hope Mr. Trump treats this situation with the seriousness it deserves and works to demonstrate to the country that he has greater respect for women than this clip suggests. In the meantime, he is no longer attending tomorrow’s event in Wisconsin.”
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker:
Inexcusable. Trump’s comments are inexcusable.
— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) October 8, 2016
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.):
“I have said before that I would not hesitate to voice my disagreement with Mr. Trump when he says something that I believe should not be part of our political dialogue. It is never appropriate to condone unwanted sexual advances or violence against women. Mr. Trump must realize that it has no place in public or private conversations today or in the past.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who endorsed Trump after the GOP primary:
Donald’s comments were vulgar, egregious & impossible to justify.
No one should ever talk about any woman in those terms, even in private.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 8, 2016
And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.):
“As the father of three daughters, I strongly believe that Trump needs to apologize directly to women and girls everywhere, and take full responsibility for the utter lack of respect for women shown in his comments on that tape.”
5) Trump surrogates trying to change the subject
Pence didn’t directly address the new video during a rally Friday night, and efforts to get him to respond drew no response:
Pence repeatedly ignores questions about Trump/WaPo story pic.twitter.com/YB03rRoyvc
— Ines de La Cuetara (@InesdLC) October 7, 2016
My attempt to get Pence to respond to the Trump tape. He ignored the question. pic.twitter.com/jgv5rUJZIb
— Matthew Nussbaum (@MatthewNussbaum) October 7, 2016
Pence said at the rally that Trump “gets it,” is the “genuine article” and that he would be a president who “respects all the American people.”
Here’s former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who is now a CNN contributor:
“Clearly this is not how women should be spoken about,” Lewandowski said. He continued: “We are electing a leader for the free world, we’re not electing a Sunday school teacher.
“What we know about Donald Trump — this is 12 years ago, this audiotape. It does not reflect or bring to mind the Donald Trump I spent 18 months with traveling. I never heard anything like this out of him.”
And new Trump surrogate A.J. Delgado:
Trump’s talk has zero impact on how his policies would affect Americans. But sure, let’s waste a day in the Ivory Tower feigning outrage.
— A.J. Delgado (@AJDelgado13) October 7, 2016
6) The few Trump defenders
Faith and Freedom Coalition head Ralph Reed, to BuzzFeed:
“Voters of faith are voting on issues like who will protect unborn life, defend religious freedom, create jobs, and oppose the Iran nuclear deal. Ten-year-old tapes of private conversation with a television talk show host rank very low on their hierarchy of concerns.”
Family Research Council head Tony Perkins, also to BuzzFeed:
“My personal support for Donald Trump has never been based upon shared values, it is based upon shared concerns about issues such as: justices on the Supreme Court that ignore the constitution, America’s continued vulnerability to Islamic terrorists and the systematic attack on religious liberty that we’ve seen in the last 7 1/2 years.”
Trump’s Virginia campaign chair told the Post that “when people voted for Donald Trump, they knew he wasn’t an angel.”
“They are not concerned that at times, Donald Trump acts like a frat boy,” said Corey Stewart. “Sometimes he does, but that’s okay. They know he’s not an angel. They know that he can save the country, though.
“When Bill Clinton did all those horrible things, people still supported him afterward because they know that that is of secondary importance. They want someone who’s going to bring jobs back,” Stewart said. “They’re not concerned about whether he acted like a frat boy, as a lot of guys do.”
The chair of the Washington state Republican Party, Susan Hutchison, even pointed out that Trump was a Democrat when he made the comments:
— KING 5 News (@KING5Seattle) October 8, 2016