Well, the story for most of the day was about Hurricane Matthew heading straight for Florida’s east coast. That is until late this afternoon when David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post broke the story of a 2005 interview where Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump was caught on a hot mic and video, bragging to Access Hollywood host Billy Bush about groping women and using his celebrity status to convince them to have sex with him.
As one could imagine, social media completely lost its shit over this. This latest controversy also drew some of the strongest rebukes from Republican leaders and candidates directed toward Trump since he entered the presidential race in June of last year.
Everybody from Reince Prebus, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and Scott Walker, to vulnerable Senators like Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire called the remarks disgusting, inappropriate, and every other synonym they could come up with. Hell, even Sean Hannity had a hard time defending Trump’s remarks.
However, despite yet another round of detestable comments from Trump, not one prominent Republican leader or candidate withdrew their support for the Republican nominee. The only real development from this is Trump will no longer make a scheduled campaign appearance with House Speaker Paul Ryan in Wisconsin this weekend. Apparently Trump decided now would be a good time to focus on debate prep. VP Nominee Mike Pence will go in his stead.
Speaking of Mike Pence; apparently he is beside himself over these comments. That’s right, the same guy who, in front of 40 million people watching his debate with Tim Kaine on Sunday, issued denial after denial of all of the horrible things Donald Trump is on record as saying, is somehow surprised these words would come out of his mouth.
This goes for most of the Republican Party. Not only have they not withdrawn their support, but they still somehow act surprised every time something like this comes up. How, after the comments he made about Carly Fiorina and Megyn Kelly earlier this year, and the fact that he spent all of last week fat shaming a former Miss Universe contestant winner, could they possibly express shock over this?
There are reports saying Republican leaders are once again discussing options should Donald Trump no longer be the nominee. But it is way too late to discuss this. There are two problems; 1) the only way the party can replace Trump at the top of the ticket is if he drops out. Which is highly unlikely; 2) people are already voting. Trump is on the ballot whether he is the candidate on Election Day or not.
Donald Trump’s awful two weeks have now extended into the weekend. And to make matters worse, he has his second debate against Hillary Clinton coming up in two days. Trump was already under a ton of pressure to bounce back from his September 26 debacle at Hofstra University. Now he has this to deal with.
Even Trump is smart enough to know this question is going to come up on Sunday. The only halfway decent response available to him is a full-throated apology. The damage is probably done already, but for once he can avoid making matters worse.
If he bombs again on Sunday and/or responds to this controversy by continuing to reference Bill Clinton’s sexual dalliances, it is probably game over and he could very well take the Republican Party down with him.
Update: Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz tells KSTU Fox 13 in Utah that he is withdrawing his support for Donald Trump