Sunday, October 9, 2016

Donald Trump Pushes Back Against Cowardly GOP Leaders

Good for him.

At WSJ, "Abandoned by GOP Leaders After His Lewd Comments, Trump Pushes Back":

Donald Trump, faced with a coast-to-coast rebellion and a political party in turmoil, Sunday pushed back against Republicans who have abandoned his candidacy after video surfaced of him lewdly bragging about forcing himself on women.

Confronted by a growing chorus of GOP candidates and officials repudiating their own presidential candidate, Mr. Trump Sunday morning sent a series of messages on Twitter denouncing those who have turned their back on him.

“So many self-righteous hypocrites,” said Mr. Trump. “Watch their poll numbers—and elections—go down.”

The release on Friday of a 2005 video of Mr. Trump making lewd and degrading comments about women has led to recriminations from all corners of the party, as the Republican National Committee and its candidates scrambled for ways to protect other GOP candidates and avoid a cataclysmic down-ballot loss.

The speed and breadth of the abandonment of Mr. Trump’s candidacy shocked some longtime party members. “Our party is in its deepest crisis since Watergate in 1974,” said Ron Nehring, former chairman of the California Republican Party, referring to the midterm election when the resignation of then-President Richard M. Nixon led to a Democratic landslide.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told party officials to redirect funds away from Mr. Trump to down-ballot candidates, according to an official informed of the decision. In practical terms, the party will be working to mobilize voters who support GOP House and Senate candidates regardless of their position on the presidential race.

The number of Republicans who denounced Mr. Trump’s comments, withdrew their endorsement of him or asked him to drop out of the race mounted over the weekend, but it was clear that the issue will not go away for those who are trying to carve their own personal path to re-election.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, a Republican facing a tough re-election bid in 2016, was one of the first on Saturday to reverse her position and announce she would not vote for Mr. Trump. On Sunday reporters grilled her on why this occasion led her to abandon him, while she stuck by him on other occasions he said other things she found offensive.

“Those tapes are fundamentally different; he’s talking about assault,” she said in a brief press conference.

Democrats are portraying Ms. Ayotte’s change of heart as rank political opportunism. “There is no answer for what has changed now for Ayotte besides the political winds,’’ said Meira Bernstein, spokesman for the senator’s Democratic challenger, Gov. Maggie Hassan.

The controversy will shape Sunday night’s second presidential town-hall style debate in St. Louis. Mr. Trump has told The Wall Street Journal he won’t quit the race and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani reiterated that Sunday.

“Gosh almighty, he who hasn’t sinned throw the first stone here,” Mr. Giuliani, a confidant of Mr. Trump, said on CNN. “The fact is that men at times talk like that. Not all men, but men do.”

Mr. Giuliani said that Mr. Trump had made “a full and complete apology” for his boastful remarks about pressing himself on women a decade ago, when he was 59 years old. Today’s 70-year-old candidate has changed his thinking significantly about women since then, Mr. Giuliani said.

In the 2005 recording, Mr. Trump said: “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful women—I just 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.…Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything,” Mr. Trump added. He also referred to a married woman whom he said he tried to seduce: “I moved on her and I failed. I’ll admit it. I did try and f—her.…”

Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine said Sunday on CNN that Mr. Trump’s comments about women show a “pattern of assaultive behavior.”

When 2008 Republican nominee John McCain withdrew on Saturday his endorsement of Mr. Trump, that left 1996 nominee Bob Dole as the only living GOP nominee backing Mr. Trump.

In an interview, Mr. Dole said he is still supportive of the party’s nominee. “It was 11 years ago. He shouldn’t have said it, but there’s nothing he can do about it except to do well in the debate,” he said...