Following Friday’s release of a 2005 video where Donald Trump made crude, salacious comments about women, the GOP presidential nominee issued an overnight apology.
But given the uproar from both Democrats and Republicans over his bragging about groping and trying to have sex with women because “when you’re a star, they let you do it,” it’s questionable whether it will be enough to avoid serious damage to his campaign.
Paul Ryan, saying he was “sickened” by the remarks, uninvited Trump to an event in Wisconsin scheduled for Saturday. Mitt Romney weighed in, saying he was “offended and dismayed” by what he heard on the tape, calling it “degrading to our women.”
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, one of Trump’s primary opponents, said he was not caught off guard by the decade-old comments.
“Nothing that has happened in the last 48 hours is surprising to me or many others. Many people were angry and questioned why I would not endorse Donald Trump or attend the Republican Convention,” Kasich said.
Trump’s GOP running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, condemned the sin while extending grace to the sinner.
“As a husband and father, I was offended by the words and actions described by Donald Trump in the 11-year-old video. I do not condone his remarks and cannot defend them. … We pray for his family and look forward to the opportunity he has to show what is in his heart when he goes before the nation tomorrow night,” Pence said.
On the home front, Melania Trump condemned her husband’s comments, but defended his character.
“The words my husband used are unacceptable and offensive to me. This does not represent the man that I know. He has the heart and mind of a leader. I hope people will accept his apology, as I have, and focus on the important issues facing our nation and the world,” she said.
Trump issued his apology on his Facebook page:
“I’ve never said I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone that I’m not. I’ve said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more than a decade-old video are one of them. Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong and I apologize.
“I have traveled the country talking about change for America, but my travels have also changed me. I’ve spent time with grieving mothers who’ve lost their children, laid-off workers whose jobs have gone to other countries, and people from all walks of life who just want a better future. I have gotten to know the great people of our country and I’ve been humbled by the faith they’ve placed in me. I pledge to be a better man tomorrow, and will never, ever let you down.
“Let’s be honest, we’re living in the real world. This is nothing more than a distraction from the important issues we’re facing today.
“We are losing our jobs, we are less safe than we were eight years ago and Washington is totally broken. Hillary Clinton and her kind have run our country into the ground. I’ve said some foolish things, but there’s a big difference between the words and actions of other people. Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims. We will discuss this more in the coming days. See you at the debate on Sunday.”
CNN responded to Trump’s apology by calling it “defiant” and suggesting that, despite a Thursday announcement that he would not be mentioning Bill Clinton’s past sexual behavior in Sunday’s debate, Trump was likely to change his mind and address it.
The New York Times dismissed the candidate’s mea culpa as the “Donald Trump apology that wasn’t.”
“If anything, Mr. Trump’s videotaped statement was a truncated version of a speech that he had given countless times. And it did not reflect the several hours of conference calls and strategy meetings among his top aides, who were at first stunned and then nearly paralyzed by the revelation of the tape, which they worried would be fatal to his White House hopes.”
Columnist Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King Jr., called Trump’s apology both “humble” and “bold,” saying he was “raising the bar of America’s conscience” and calling on America to apologize for its sins.
“Apology is often the first step in correcting a wrong. Having moved for a position of saying “I don’t need forgiveness,” Mr. Trump is now taking a second look at past behaviors; things that he’s said and done that he regrets. While he is not asking for forgiveness for being human, he is admitting that he’s made mistakes and humbly making apologies.
“While writing, saying and doing much, Mr. Trump is apologizing for his past sins. He’s walking away from supporting abortion, hurling insults and more. Now, America needs to follow suit and apologize for the scourge of legal abortion that has left millions of empty cradles, wombs barren, women’s health damaged, and families broken. As Americans, we all need to follow Mr. Trump’s lead and ask God for forgiveness for the sins of our nation, and yes, for ourselves.”