UPDATE: Republican NJ Congressman Scott Garrett and Frank LoBiondo have now joined the call for Trump to drop out.
There’s a death watch going on right now outside Trump Tower, where the Republican nominee for president has been huddling with Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich and Jeff Session – with Sessions arguing Trump should drop out. Things are moving very, very fast and calls for Trump with withdraw are piling up. New York Times is reporting that Republican officials met last night in Washington to discuss the party’s options “going forward in case Trump isn’t nominee.” But meanwhile, RNC headquarters appears to be in freefall, with reports of staff insurrection and refusal to keep working for Trump to win, with some reports staff are now poised to “start leaving” if RNC Chair “doesn’t act.” Process to replace Trump is very complicated – and can happen only if he withdraws.
After repeatedly ducking press requests to comment on Washington Post’s lewd 2005 video of his running mate, Pence finally released a statement. Minutes ago, he released this statement – he was “offended,” cannot condone and “cannot defend.” Meanwhile, Trump, locked in his own gold-plated bubble tells the New York Times he hasn’t heard anyone calling for him to drop out. Minutes ago, Philip Rucker at the Washington Post said source tells him Mike Pence and his team are “absolutely apoplectic,” “melting down” and “inconsolable.”
Here’s a timeline of the Trump campaign’s last few hours:
- 8:10pm: Mitt Romney castigates Trump’s “vile degradations.”
- 8:26pm: On CNN, GOP strategist Ana Navarro says Republicans should call on Trump to quit. Then she shouts down a Trump apologist offended she keeps quoting Trump saying “pussy.”
- 8:46pm: Sen. Mark Kirk calls on Trump to drop out and GOP “engage rules for emergency replacement.”
- 9:16pm: Sen. John McCain, who Trump called “not a hero” on Trump: “He alone bears the burden of his conduct and alone should suffer the consequences.”
- 9:18pm: House Speaker Paul Ryan tells Trump he is no longer welcome at his event in Wisconsin today; was to be their first joint appearance.
- 9:21pm: Nicholas Kristof reporting Trump forced himself on a young woman – in Ivanka’s bedroom
- 9:32pm: Trump statement that he would send Pence to Wisconsin, prompting reporters to theorize this may be “foreshadowing.”
- 9:44pm: Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado calls on Trump to end campaign
- 11:03pm: Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) retracts his endorsement on a local TV news show.
- 12:02am: Rep. Barbara Comstock of Virginia’s 10th CD, calls on Trump to drop out
- 12:38am: Trump video statement: “This is nothing more than a distraction.”
- 12:44pm: Rep. Bradley Byrne of Alabama calls on Trump to step down
- 1:25am: Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) wants Trump out of the race.
- 7:52am: Reports Roger Stone advising Trump to “play the rape card” with Bill Clinton.
- 10:02am: Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) “won’t vote for” Trump.
- 10:49am: Right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt says Trump should withdraw “for the benefit of the country, his party and his family,” and warns “more and worse oppo is coming.”
- 11:17am: Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) retracts endorsement of Trump, calls for him to be replaced by a “conservative candidate like Mike Pence.”
- 11:37am: Republican superstar Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire released a statement that she will not be voting for Trump and will instead write in Gov. Mike Pence for president on election day. 11:39am: Trump vows “never to withdraw.”
- 11:50am: Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) calls on Trump to “reexamine his candidacy.”
- 12:24pm: Carly Fiorina asks Trump to step aside, for Mike Pence.
- 12:56: Fox News reports Sen. John Thune (R-SD) says Trump should withdraw.
- 12:57pm: Politico’s Pence beat reporter reporting Mike Pence is no longer going to the Wisconsin event today; not disinvited as Trump was, but decided on his own.
- 1:21pm: Dr. Ben Carson tells Fox News “more Trump revelations are coming.”
- 2:35pm: Sen. Deb Fischer on Trump: Step aside for Mike Pence.
A number of “never Trump” Republicans have joined the call, among them senators Mark Kirk of Illinois, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Mike Lee of Utah, and Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania’s 15th CD who has said he would vote for neither Trump nor Clinton.