'I was wrong and I apologize:' Trump releases statement

Politicians, pundits and celebrities were quick to tweet their reaction to the video showing Donald Trump making vulgar remarks about women that was released Friday by The Washington Post.

Donald Trump boasts that, as a "star," women let him do anything he wants in a 2005 video obtained by The Washington Post that features the real estate mogul using salacious language as he brags of kissing and groping women he's attracted to.

In the video posted Friday, Trump and Billy Bush, the former Access Hollywood host now with NBC's Today show, engage in graphic discussions en route to the Days of Our Lives set, where Trump is set to record a piece about an upcoming appearance on the soap opera.

"I did try and f--- her," Trump tells Bush in reference to a married woman, while acknowledging he was unsuccessful. "I moved on her like a b---- but I couldn't get there," Trump says.

In a statement shortly after the video's release, Trump dismisses its importance.

“This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago," the GOP presidential nominee says. "Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course — not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.”

Top Republicans, however, denounced their nominee, and House Speaker Paul Ryan Friday night essentially uninvited Trump from an event in Wisconsin Saturday where they were scheduled to campaign together.

“I am sickened by what I heard today," the House speaker said in a statement. "Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified. I hope Mr. Trump treats this situation with the seriousness it deserves and works to demonstrate to the country that he has greater respect for women than this clip suggests. In the meantime, he is no longer attending tomorrow’s event in Wisconsin.”

Trump's running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, will make an appearance instead, Trump said in a statement. Trump said he will not attend because. "I will be spending the day in New York in debate prep with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus."

That debate session could be interesting because Priebus issued a short, but blistering statement Friday night, denouncing the GOP nominee's language.

"No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever," Priebus said.

Trump's Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, tweeted that the latest revelations were "horrific."

"We cannot allow this man to become president," she wrote. A later Clinton tweet included a portion of the video itself with a note: "Women have the power to stop Trump." Clinton's running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, wrote on Twitter that Trump's behavior was "disgusting." "It makes me sick to my stomach," Kaine tweeted.

The video's release comes two days before a critical presidential debate where Trump hopes to rebound following a widely criticized performance in his opening face-off with Clinton. In that debate, Clinton brought up a former Miss Universe's allegations that Trump had called her "Miss Piggy" and had made other disparaging remarks. That exchange led to days of the GOP nominee attempting to defend his actions, culminating in a series of tweets posted in the early morning hours by Trump in which he further attacked Alicia Machado, including referring to a sex tape. The episode, as well as a recent Associated Press story that reported Trump often used lewd language when referring to female contestants on The Apprentice, amplified criticisms of Trump's treatment of women and overall fitness to be president. Following the release of the video, Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in a statement that Trump's language "amounts to sexual assault." "Trump's behavior is disgusting and unacceptable in any context, and it is disqualifying for a man who is running for president of this country," she said. One of Trump's primary rivals, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, wrote on Twitter Friday that "no apology can excuse away Donald Trump's reprehensible comments degrading women."

Another of Trump's former Republican opponents, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, tweeted that "the comments were wrong and offensive. They are indefensible."

Both Bush and Kasich have declined to endorse the GOP nominee. Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee, also weighed in. "Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters," he tweeted.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, announced Friday night he was withdrawing his endorsement of Trump. However, there were no immediate signs that the Republican donors, who only recently have begun to open their wallets to Trump, were abandoning him over the latest controversy.

Texas investor Doug Deason, whose family has contributed a combined $1 million to Trump and the Republican National Committee, called the tape’s release a “big brouhaha about nothing.” “Anybody that’s shocked is faking it,” Deason told USA TODAY Friday evening. “We’re a nation that believes in redemption,” he added. “That’s who he was then, and that’s not who he is now.”

Deason said Trump should quickly issue a new statement, well ahead of Sunday’s town-hall debate, making it clear that “he has changed.” Deasons are influential players in conservative politics.

Billionaire patriarch Darwin Deason made his fortune in the data-processing business, and the family initially backed former Texas governor Rick Perry and then Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in their bids for the Republican nomination. Doug Deason said the family now has raised about $5 million to $6 million for Trump on top of the $1 million in direct donations.

Missouri GOP nominee issues statement on Trump
Republican nominee for Attorney General Josh Hawley issued the following statement tonight regarding Donald Trump's 2005 comments.

"Donald Trump's comments as reported tonight are shocking, repulsive, and utterly indefensible. They are an affront to every American. He should issue an unconditional apology to those involved, and to the American people."


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