On Friday, the Washington Post released a video from 2005 in which Trump is heard bragging in vulgar terms about kissing and groping women to Billy Bush, then of Access Hollywood, while arriving on the set of Days of Our Lives to tape a segment about Trump’s cameo on the soap opera.
The release of the video sent the GOP into a meltdown, with Republican leaders abandoning Trump by the dozens and plunging the party into deep crisis with less than a month to go before the election.
As the New York Times reports, by Saturday evening, at least 36 Republican members of congress and governors disavowed his candidacy, a first instance in modern times when members of a party have deserted their own leader in such large numbers.
Some of those who disavowed Trump were Senator John McCain, Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, and South Dakota senator John Thune, among several other elected representatives of the Republican Party.
Even Mike Pence, who attempts to defend Trump in the direst of situations, declined to appear on Trump’s behalf at a party gathering in Wisconsin, before adding that he “could not condone his remarks and could not defend them.” The Republican meltdown forced Trump to issue an apology, in which he said that he has never pretended to be a “perfect person,” before going on to add that such videos were only a distraction from the core issues at hand, and closed his statement by accusing Hillary Clinton of “bullying, attacking, shaming and intimidating [Bill Clinton’s] victims.” Many observers believe that tonight’s debate at Washington University will present Donald Trump’s last chance of salvaging a campaign that threatens to collapse under its own weight a month before the general election.