UPDATE: Prominent Republicans continue to drop support for Trump

UPDATE 5 — 10/10, 3:05 p.m. EST: A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Monday confirms the political fallout from the “hot mic” recording of Donald Trump on Access Hollywood in 2005.

Both two-way and four-way surveys of “likely voters” were conducted by the polling group over the weekend, with Hillary Clinton leading Trump by 11 points with third party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein included.

In a hypothetical binary matchup, Clinton’s lead grows even wider to 14 points, 52 to 38 percent.

The survey also found that among registered voters, Trump has a 63 percent negative image rating, compared to 50 percent who have a similar opinion of Clinton.

 

UPDATE 4 — 10/10, 12:43 p.m. EST: Following Sunday evening’s contentious presidential debate in which both major party nominees traded personal insults, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Monday that he no longer plans to campaign for Donald Trump and will instead focus on helping his party retain its majority in Congress.

Ryan also held a conference call with GOP House members Monday morning, reportedly advising them “to do what’s best for you and your district.”

“He will spend his entire energy making sure that Hillary Clinton does not get a blank check with a Democrat-controlled Congress,” said the CNN source who was on the call.

 

UPDATE 3 — 10/9, 11:23 a.m. EST: CNNMoney is reporting that the first question at Sunday evening’s presidential debate in St. Louis will be about Donald Trump’s recorded comments degrading women in 2005.

Hillary Clinton will be the first candidate to answer the question, determined by a coin toss overseen by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

In addition to 40 audience members that are “uncommitted voters” who have submitted questions, moderators Martha Raddatz and Anderson Cooper will also consider topics submitted and voted on by the general public at presidentialopenquestions.com.

The top vote-getter is a question about criminal background checks for gun sales, followed by pro-Second Amendment and Social Security questions.

 

UPDATE 2 — 10/9, 10:08 a.m. EST: The list of Republican officials withdrawing their support and/or endorsement of GOP nominee Donald Trump continues to grow. As of Sunday morning, no less than 10 prominent political figures formerly supporting Trump’s candidacy say they will now no longer vote for him.

In the Senate, Republicans John McCain (Ariz.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Mike Lee (Utah), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), John Thune (S.D.), Cory Gardner (Colo.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Dan Sullivan (Alaska), Susan Collins (Maine), Ben Sasse (Neb.) and Deb Fischer (Neb.) have all denounced the Republican Party’s choice for president.  

Congressional members withdrawing include Reps. Jason Chaffetz (Utah), Martha Roby (Ala.), Barbara Comstock (Va.), Ann Wagner (Mo.) and Senate candidate Joe Heck (Nev.)

In addition, Govs. Robert Bentley (Ala.), Gary Herbert (Utah), John Kasich (Ohio), have said they will not vote for Trump.

Former Secretary of State for George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Hewlett-Packard CEO and former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, all Republican Party members, have also denounced Trump’s comments.

 

UPDATE — 2:14 p.m. EST: Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence issued a statement Saturday about the now infamous 2005 recording of Donald Trump telling Billy Bush about his sexual exploits.

“As a husband and father, I was offended by the words and actions described by Donald Trump in the eleven-year-old video released yesterday,” Pence said. “I do not condone his remarks and cannot defend them.”

Gov. Pence also canceled an appearance at a Wisconsin campaign rally Saturday with House Speaker Paul Ryan, originally slated for Trump before he was disinvited after Friday’s revelation.

Despite calls from Republican officials for the New York businessman to bow out of the White House campaign, Trump has vowed to “never withdraw.”

 

The Washington Post released a hot microphone recording of Donald Trump from September 2005 on Friday of a private conversation with NBC’s Billy Bush prior to a taped segment for Access Hollywood in which the Republican presidential nominee is heard making explicit comments about women.

The comments were made on a bus that was taking the two men to the set of NBC’s Days of Our Lives, a soap opera television show that Trump would be making a cameo appearance on.

Speaking about an woman named “Nancy”, Trump told Bush that he “moved on her . . . she was down in Palm Beach. I moved on her and I failed. I’ll admit it. I did try and f— her. She was married.”

Trump himself had just been married to his third and current wife Melania eight months prior to the time of the recording.

Later, still on the bus, Trump told Bush that he’s “automatically attracted to beautiful — I jus start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything,” to which Bush responded, “Whatever you want.”

“Grab them by the p—-. You can do anything,” Trump continued.

Following the public backlash, Trump issued an apology Friday afternoon.This was locker-room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago,” the statement read. “Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course — not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.”

Apparently more than a few Congressional Republicans were in-fact offended, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, who canceled Trump out of a scheduled campaign rally in Elkhorn, Wis., Saturday.  Republican vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will substitute for Trump at Ryan’s event.

“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,” Ryan said.

According to Politico, some Congressional Republicans are saying privately that the comments are disqualifying, with one anonymous member predicting that, “(Trump’s) going to be radioactive soon.”

Late Friday, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told Fox 13 News that he was withdrawing his endorsement of the New York businessman’s candidacy.

“I’m out. I can no longer in good conscience endorse this person for president,” Chaffetz said. “It is some of the most abhorrent and offensive comments that you can possibly imagine.”

The Republican lawmaker also said that Trump’s apology “was an apology for getting caught, that was not an apology for the behavior.”

Conservative Utah Governor Gary Herbert also said earlier on Friday that he will not be voting for Trump after hearing the 2005 comments.

 

[Washington Post] [Politico] [Fox-13 Salt Lake City] [CNN] [NBC News] [Los Angeles Times] [Photo courtesy crooksandliars.com]