Two Republican Arkansas officials who spoke on behalf of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump during the Republican National Convention and a GOP U.S. senator running for re-election are not joining the call for Trump to leave the race after lewd comments he made in 2005 came to light.
Trump has refused to drop out, as many Republicans have demanded.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued statements Saturday calling Trump’s conduct “reprehensible” and his remarks “offensive,” while Sen. John Boozman said the presidential race has become “a race to the bottom of humanity.”
“The conduct of Mr. Trump over a decade ago is reprehensible and cannot be justified,” Hutchinson said, adding that Trump must demonstrate during Sunday’s debate that “he understands and respects the value of women.”
Hutchinson said both Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Trump are “imperfect” candidates” and the election should be decided on national security, the economy and the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Rutledge said she can’t condone or defend what Trump said, but said he is asking for forgiveness.
“Mr. Trump has acknowledged how offensive these remarks were,” Rutledge said. “I will continue to support the only candidate in this race who will get federal regulations off the backs of American workers, keep our families safe from terrorists and appoint conservative judges and justices who will serve on the bench and shape the future of our country.”
Boozman, who faces Democratic former federal prosecutor Conner Eldridge and Libertarian Frank Gilbert for re-election, released a statement in which he said he is focused on the Senate and did not mention Trump by name.
“As a husband, father of 3 daughters, and grandfather of two precious little girls, if I ever heard anyone speak this way about them, they would be shopping for a new set of teeth,” Boozman said. “Every day this presidential race becomes less about the issues facing our country and more and more about a race to the bottom of humanity.”
Eldridge said he has condemned Trump’s statements prior to the most recent revelation.
“Deplorable, reprehensible, unjustifiable — none of these words can convey the severity of Donald Trump’s statements towards women,” Eldridge said,
State Democratic Party Chairman Vincent Insalaco said state Republicans should prove they believe Trump’s behavior is reprehensible,
“They must speak out against Donald Trump’s misogyny, or they will have a hard time explaining their continued support to their families and to voters,”according to Insalaco.
Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman joined the chorus of criticism late on Saturday.
“Donald Trump’s recently surfaced comments from 2005 are disgusting and would be fighting words had they been said about my wife or daughter,” Westerman said in a statement. He called on Trump to consider whether to drop out of the race.