As WikiLeaks prepared its dump of devastating emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta, video and audio of Donald J. Trump—the Republican nominee for president—making off-color comments about women while with George H.W. Bush’s nephew, Billy Bush. were leaked.
George H.W. Bush, the former president, is voting for Hillary Clinton for president, Politico reported a few weeks ago. One of his sons, former President George W. Bush, has told people to vote in November but did not tell them who to vote for. And now his nephew is at the center of a disparaging tape on which Trump made lewd remarks about women. Both Trump and Billy Bush have apologized for the comments they made on the video.
But anti-Trump forces in the media, at the Washington Post which broke the story, and other outlets, have engineered it into a major scandal. And the Bushes and anti-Trump Republicans appear at the center of every turn in it.
Almost instantly, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush—a bitter Trump rival who has broken his pledge to support the eventual GOP nominee for president—denounced Trump, as did failed 2012 Republican nominee and fellow anti-Trump activist Mitt Romney.
As the grandfather of two precious girls, I find that no apology can excuse away Donald Trump's reprehensible comments degrading women.
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) October 7, 2016
Hitting on married women? Condoning assault? Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America's face to the world.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) October 8, 2016
Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman Reince Priebus, who’s been disagreeable with Trump many times throughout the campaign, and House Speaker Paul Ryan—who’s been trying to undermine Trump’s ascent since it began despite endorsing him—both condemned Trump’s remarks on the tape as well. Ryan also canceled Trump’s scheduled appearance at a campaign stop in Wisconsin on Saturday.
Interestingly, it seems as though this tape’s release—and the rush by a bevy of anti-Trump Republicans to denounce him over the decade-old locker room-type banter—comes as Trump stays strong in the polls and prepares for the next debate on Sunday night in St. Louis, Missouri.
Meanwhile, WikiLeaks just dropped a bombshell on Clinton’s campaign—more two thousand emails from Podesta, which include scores of controversial remarks she made in private paid speeches before mega-donor crowds—but ironically the Chamber of Commerce’s national political director Rob Engstrom called for Trump to drop out of the race and give the GOP nomination to his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
Trump should step down immediately tonight, yielding to Governor Pence as the GOP Nominee.
— Rob Engstrom (@RobEngstrom) October 8, 2016
A series of Republicans from Utah—which didn’t support Trump before and were always highly skeptical of him, including Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Gov. Gary Herbert—also rescinded their endorsements of Trump.
They were hardly the only ones. Anti-Trump GOP Sens. Mark Kirk of Illinois and Mike Lee of Utah called on him to drop out of the presidential race.
Donald Trump is a distraction. Time for him to step aside so we can focus on winning ideas that will carry Republicans to a victory in Nov.
— Mike Lee (@MikeLeeforUtah) October 8, 2016
Now comes GOP Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, calling on Trump to drop out of the race.
— Marc Duvoisin (@MarcDuvoisin) October 8, 2016
And Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) withdrew her endorsement of Trump.
— Ed O'Keefe (@edokeefe) October 8, 2016
It’s interesting, to say the least, that all of this is happening as Trump appears to be on the brink of potentially winning the White House. After surviving an unprecedented level of crises for a major party presidential candidate—some fabricated, some real—he has survived a rough first debate. Now, walking into the second debate, he’s still neck-and-neck with Clinton in the polls both nationally and in battleground states. And every effort to take him down—launched by the permanent political class in Washington, D.C., and the legacy media on the island of Manhattan in New York City—has thus far failed.
Some, like Clinton supporter Sally Kohn, suggested that this effort was the last ditch desperation play to take down Trump once and for all.
If this doesn't ruin Trump's candidacy, the problem isn't the misogynist candidate — but the misogynist country. https://t.co/iQzu5HLlDY
— Sally Kohn (@sallykohn) October 7, 2016
So if Trump survives this one—after lasting through so many others—maybe nothing can take him out.
UPDATE 12:58 P.M.
Carly Fiorina, the failed vice presidential candidate of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) at the end of the GOP primaries, has joined the chorus of those calling for Trump to step aside.
My thoughts: pic.twitter.com/1ck3UddzdR
— Carly Fiorina (@CarlyFiorina) October 8, 2016
“Donald Trump does not represent me or my party. I understand the responsibility of Republicans to support their nominee. Our nominee has weighty responsibilities as well. Donald Trump has manifestly failed in these responsibilities,” Fiorina said in a Facebook statement. “I have traveled the country for years warning Americans that Hillary Clinton is unfit to be President. We must have a conservative in the White House to restore accountability, opportunity and security. For the sake of our Constitution and the rule of law, we must defeat Hillary Clinton. Today I ask Donald Trump to step aside and for the RNC to replace him with Gov. Mike Pence.”