Donald Trump’s presidential campaign today appeared to be collapsing like a pack of cards, with many top Republican party leaders leaving his camp a day after his lewd remarks against women surfaced but the controversial billionaire refused to quit the race.
The Republican party faced an unprecedented meltdown, with an increased chorus in the party and its leadership every passing hour for the 70-year-old reality TV star to drop out of the presidential race ahead of the election next month.
One leader after another, including top Senators and Governors, distanced themselves from the New York-based real estate mogul, who joined Republican party only a little over a year ago and emerged as its presidential nominee in the short span.
Trump’s own running mate Mike Pence said he could neither condone nor defend his remarks in a 2005 videotape in which he bragged in vulgar terms about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women.
“I am grateful that he has expressed remorse and apologised to the American people. We pray for his family and look forward to the opportunity he has to show what is in his heart when he goes before the nation tomorrow night,” the Indiana Governor said in a statement.
His remarks came after cancelling an appearance scheduled at Wisconsin with House Speaker Paul Ryan and Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, both of whom had condemned Trump’s remarks the day before but stopped short of withdrawing support altogether.
Trump, however, put up a defiant show.
In an interview to The Wall Street Journal, he said “there is zero chance I’ll quit.”
He said the same thing in an interview to The Washington Post, which was the first to release a video of his lewd comments against women.
“I never give up. The support I am getting is unbelievable, because Hillary Clinton is a horribly flawed candidate,” he said. “I’d never withdraw. I’ve never withdrawn in my life. No, I’m not quitting. I have tremendous support.”
Trump, who has spent his last 24 hours in his Trump Tower in New York with his closest allies, also cancelled his appearance at a rally in Wisconsin.
Trump who made a brief appearance before his supporters at the lobby of his Trump Towers would face a confident Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, for the second presidential debate at St Louis on Sunday night.
A number of Congressman and Senator yesterday announced that they were withdrawing their endorsement of Trump.
Top Republican Senator John McCain announced that he is withdrawing his endorsement of Trump.
“Donald Trump’s behaviour this week, concluding with the disclosure of his demeaning comments about women and his boasts about sexual assaults, make it impossible to continue to offer even conditional support for his candidacy. Cindy, with her strong background in human rights and respect for women fully agrees with me in this,” McCain said.