Donald Trump Declares 'I'm Not Quitting This Race,' but Can Revolted GOP Even Replace Him on the Ballot?
Following the revelation of a 2005 videotape showing Donald Trump making vulgar comments about women, Republicans have started retracting endorsements – and some are even demanding that Trump withdraw from the race or the party kick him off the ballot.
But Trump says he will “never withdraw.”
“I’ve never withdrawn in my life. No, I’m not quitting this race,” Trump told the Washington Post on Saturday following calls from members of his party to do so. “I have tremendous support,”
“People are calling and saying, ‘Don’t even think about doing anything else but running. You have to see what’s going on. The real story is that people have no idea the support. I don’t know how that’s going to boil down but people have no idea the support,” he said.
Trump went on to tell the Wall Street Journal that he will “never, ever give up.”
“The support I’m getting is unbelievable, because Hillary Clinton is a horribly flawed candidate.”
A previous report released by the Washington Post claims that it’s “far too late” for Republicans to remove the nominee from their ticket at this point.
According to the publication, because voting has already begun – more than 34,000 Republican voters have cast early ballots in the general election – and because there’s no clear last-minute replacement standard, the party cannot simply oust him.
A Republican National Committee rule addresses the process for filling vacancies of the Republican candidate by reason of “death, declination, or otherwise,” but doesn’t mention replacement in the clause. The Post claims the party could amend that rule, but it would require a majority of the party’s Rules Committee and two-thirds of the entire party.
The bigger issue is that 8,000 Republicans have voted in North Carolina and 5,000 have voted in Florida. And the deadline for getting candidates on the ballot in states like Texas, Florida and Michigan have all passed.
The report says the party could sue to have him replaced on the ballot, but it’s too late for those 34,000 votes that have already been cast (although not all are for Trump, most presumably are).
The consensus? Trump will remain the Republican candidate for president unless drastic measures are taken.
But it does appear that the Republican National Committee has temporarily halted some of the “Victory” program dedicated to electing Trump.
In an email obtained by POLITICO, the RNC requested a victory program mail vendor put “a hold” on all mail production.
“Please put a hold/stop on all mail projects right now. If something is in production or print it needs to stop. Will update you when to proceed,” RNC political department staffer Lauren Toomey wrote in the email, that had the subject line “Hold on all projects.”
Cc’d on the email was top RNC official Rick Wiley.
As an alternative, some Republicans plan on writing in Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, on election day.
Prominent New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte announced her decision on Twitter, saying she “cannot and will not” support Trump.
“I wanted to be able to support my party’s nominee, chosen by the people, because I feel strongly that we need a change in direction for our country. However, I’m a mom and an American first, and I cannot and will not support a candidate for president who brags about degrading and assaulting women. I will not be voting for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton and instead will be writing in Governor Pence for president on Election Day,” writes Ayotte.
At a Saturday Republican campaign rally, Nevada Rep. Joe Heck – who is running for a seat in the U.S. Senate – was booed by the crowd when he asked Trump to withdraw from the race.
“We deserve a candidate that can ask at the end of the day, ‘Did I live my life with honor and do I deserve to be elected President of the United States?’ I believe our only option is to formally ask Mr. Trump to step down,” he said.
As much as Trump tried to change the subject, determined to weather the storm, condemnation only piled higher on Saturday. Vice President Joe Biden tweeted that Trump’s 2005 behavior is “an abuse of power. It’s not lewd. It’s sexual assault.”
And late Saturday afternoon, John McCain joined a parade of prominent Republicans pulling back their endorsements of Trump’s presidential candidacy.
“I have wanted to support the candidate our party nominated. He was not my choice, but as a past nominee, I thought it important I respect the fact that Donald Trump won a majority of the delegates by the rules our party set. I thought I owed his supporters that deference,” McCain said in a statement. “But Donald Trump’s behavior this week, concluding with the disclosure of his demeaning comments about women and his boasts about sexual assaults, make it impossible to continue to offer even conditional support for his candidacy. Cindy, with her strong background in human rights and respect for women, fully agrees with me in this.”
Condoleezza Rice, the popular former Secretary of State who has been conspicuously quiet this election year, chimed in on Facebook late Saturday:
“Enough! Donald Trump should not be President. He should withdraw. As a Republican, I hope to support someone who has the dignity and stature to run for the highest office in the greatest democracy on earth.”
Amid the pileup, Trump issued a second tweet, blaming the media and “establishment” for trying to bring him down.
“The media and establishment want me out of the race so badly – I WILL NEVER DROP OUT OF THE RACE, WILL NEVER LET MY SUPPORTERS DOWN! #MAGA,” Trump wrote.