The fallout continues following the release of a damning 2005 video in which Donald Trump is cavalierly bragging about being able to grope women without their consent and get away with it because of his fame.
Republican Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz , Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, who had been a leading investigator of Hillary Clinton’s corruption, announced on FOX 13 Friday evening that he is taking back his endorsement of Republican nominee Donald Trump, then later told CNN that he wishes that Trump’s VP pick, Mike Pence, was the nominee.
“I’m out. I can no longer in good conscience endorse this person for president,” Rep. Chaffetz stated. “It is some of the most abhorrent and offensive comments that you can possibly imagine,” he declared.
Chaffetz said that he is definitely not voting for Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton and that he doesn’t know who he will be voting for at this point. Both Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and Independent Evan McMullin have both been gaining traction in Utah, both polling in the low teens in recent polls. Utah is a considered a very conservative state, one in which Republicans typically win by wide margins.
“I can no longer endorse Donald Trump for president,” Jason Chaffetz said on CNN with Don Lemon, also on Friday night. “There’s no possible way I’d vote for Hillary Clinton but they [Trump’s comments] are abhorrent, they are wrong,” he said.
“There’s no possible way I’d vote for Hillary Clinton but they [Trump’s comments] are abhorrent, they are wrong — to use a baseball metaphor — I’ve got to call balls and strikes the way I see them and, you know, my wife Julie and I have a 15-year-old daughter. Do you think I could look her in the eye and tell her that I endorse Donald Trump for president when he acts like this?
And his apology? That was no apology. It was an apology for getting caught. To say that Bill Clinton did it and did it worse, I mean that should have been his first clue that it was the wrong behavior. So I’m not going to put my good name and reputation and my family behind Donald Trump for president.”
Chaffetz took exception to the Trump apology that referred to the comments he made on the tape as “locker room” talk, saying that he played college football and is very familiar with locker room conversations but that Trump’s derogatory remarks about women were much worse. He said that he “felt good” for pulling back his endorsement and said that he felt sorry for Mike Pence, Donald Trump’s wife and family, and for the country as a whole.
Earlier on Friday, Republican Senator Mark Kirk , who had not endorsed Trump for president, called for Trump to drop out and for the Republican Party to implement its “rules for emergency replacement.”
Utah Governor Gary Herbert also announced, via Twitter, that he was also dropping his support of Donald Trump:
Donald Trump's statements are beyond offensive & despicable. While I cannot vote for Hillary Clinton, I will not vote for Trump. #utpol
— Gary R. Herbert (@HerbertForUtah) October 8, 2016
Others are likely to follow and Republicans will not be able to defend Trump’s comments. As Chaffetz said, this is a “bridge too far.”