Don’t Be Fooled, Republicans Are Chiding Trump, But Many Still Back Him

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October 8, 2016 11:38 a.m.

Hours after the Washington Post dropped a 2005 video depicting Donald Trump explicitly describing how he picked up women, kissed who he wanted and grabbed them by the p***y without repercussions because he was famous, GOP officials condemning Donald Trump released a flood of statements.

Most of them admonished Trump’s comments. They called them “unacceptable” and “repugnant.”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said Trump’s words were so hurtful that Trump should “suffer the consequences” for his actions.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) instructed Trump to “apologize directly to women and girls everywhere” for the video.

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What the statements didn’t say, however, was “I am no longer supporting Donald Trump.”

And on Saturday, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) stood by Trump.

“I am glad to see that he understands more about the country now than he believes he did when this process started,” Blunt said, referring to a comment Trump made in his apology for the remarks. β€œI think if you want to solve the problems that have been created over the last eight years, you can’t have a third Obama administration. So he needs to be vigorous in explaining how he is a different man than that person, but how he hopes to lead the country and I think he may very well get that done.”

While Republicans seem deeply frustrated with Trump, very few are pulling their endorsements or statements of support at this point, a pattern that has been repeated time and time again when Trump has crossed the line. Statements of admonishment followed when Trump attacked a judge for his “Mexican” heritage, when he criticized a Muslim Gold Star family, when he sought to ban Muslims from entering the U.S at all. And still, Trump remained the nominee.

It’s almost predictable at this point, but given the grotesque nature of the comments paired with Trump’s already slipping poll numbers, it’s stunning more Republicans aren’t just walking away.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced Friday night that he wouldn’t appear with Trump at what was supposed to be their first joint campaign event Saturday. But he, too, did not outright pull his endorsement.

After initially not pulling their support Friday, both Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV) and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) distanced themselves from Trump Saturday. Heck called on Trump to step aside and Ayotte said she would no longer vote for him.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R–UT) and Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) were among the first Republicans to unendorse. Others like Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ben Sasse (R-NE) have asked Trump to step aside, but weren’t ever supporting Trump anyway.

The bottom line is that strongly disparaging Trump’s comments while continuing to stand beside sends a lot of mixed messages and it’s hardly taking a stand.

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