The Latest: Ayotte drops Trump, will write in Pence’s name

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the presidential campaign a day before the second presidential debate between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump (all times EDT):

11:50 a.m.

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte says she is dropping her support for Donald Trump and plans to write in vice presidential running mate Mike Pence’s name for president.

Ayotte says in statement that she cannot support a presidential candidate “who brags about degrading and assaulting women.”

Ayotte is in one of the nation’s closest Senate contests. Her opponent, Gov. Maggie Hassan, has tied her to Trump at event turn.

Ayotte’s been widely panned for her dance around Trump. She’d said she would support but not endorse him and recently backed off comments that Trump is a role model.


11:46 a.m.

Donald Trump says he will not quit the presidential race.

The Republican presidential nominee told The Washington Post on Saturday morning, “I’d never withdraw. I’ve never withdrawn in my life.”

He also told The Wall Street Journal there was “zero chance I’ll quit.”

The comments come as a growing number of Republican officeholders call on Trump to leave the race.

Trump said he’s been getting calls of support after a video tape surfaced Friday that captured him making vulgar and sexually charged comments about women.


11:35 a.m.

Carly Fiorina says Donald Trump should step aside as the Republican presidential nominee.

The former GOP contender says, Trump “does not represent me or my party” and says Trump has “manifestly” failed to live up to his responsibilities carrying the GOP’s mantle.

She wrote on her Facebook page that Trump should “step aside and for the RNC to replace him with Gov. Mike Pence.”


11:23 a.m.

Republican Mike Crapo of Idaho is the latest senator to call for Donald Trump to step down.

Crapo released a statement Saturday morning that says “this is not a decision that I have reached lightly, but his pattern of behavior left me no choice.”

Sen. Mike Lee of Utah also has called for Trump to quit the race, as has a growing list of House members and other elected officials.

Crapo said he’s spent years working on domestic violence issues. He said that Trump’s lewd tape released Friday was far from the “locker room” banter that the campaign initially described.


11:00 a.m.

Donald Trump is trying his hand at understatement on arguably the most difficult day of his presidential candidacy.

He tweets just before 11 a.m.: “Certainly has been an interesting 24 hours!”

It was his first comment since releasing a video in which he apologized for his lewd comments unearthed in a 2005 video. The tweet comes amid nearly universal condemnation of those remarks, in which Trump was caught in an off-camera conversation speaking in vulgar terms about women.

Some Republican members of Congress are calling for him to withdraw from the race as the GOP struggles to keep its congressional majority.

It’s unclear whether Trump will make any public appearances before Sunday’s second debate with Clinton in St. Louis. Trump is not attending a previously scheduled event Saturday in Wisconsin with running mate Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan.


Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock is calling on Donald Trump to abandon his presidential bid, saying she can’t vote for him in “good conscience.”

The first-term congresswoman of a moderate district in Northern Virginia says on Twitter that Trump should allow the GOP to replace him on the ticket. Comstock’s comments come after the leak of a 2005 video in which Trump makes crass comments about women.

Comstock is seeking re-election in Virginia’s most closely watched congressional race. She represents the 10th District, which stretches from the wealthy McLean suburbs inside the Capital Beltway out to more rural areas.

Comstock has long been critical of Trump and has repeatedly tried to distance herself from him throughout her campaign.


10:51 a.m.

Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges says there will be no punishment for state GOP officials who drop their support of Donald Trump over his crude comments about women.

Asked whether the revelations were a fatal blow to Trump’s electoral prospects, Borges said, “The debate tomorrow is now everything.”

Borges was a supporter of Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the primary but has helped Trump during the general election.

Borges would not say whether he plans to drop his support for the nominee. But he said his “wife looks like the smartest person in America right now. She wouldn’t let me put a Donald Trump sign in my yard.”

Ohio is a must-win state for Trump in the November election.


10:30 a.m.

A conservative Alabama congresswoman says she will not vote for Donald Trump for president and wants him to step down as GOP nominee.

Republican Martha Roby says Trump’s newly disclosed comments about women and how he treats them make him “unacceptable” for the office.

Roby was elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010 that flipped House control to the Republicans. She represents an overwhelmingly Republican state where Trump won an easy primary victory March 1 and where he remains popular.

She says in a statement that she previously tolerated Trump’s “antics” because she wanted to support the party and its nominee. Now, she says Trump should “step aside and allow a responsible, respectable Republican to lead the ticket.”


10:20 a.m.

Republican fundraising chief Spencer Zwick says he’s been fielding calls from donors who “want help putting money together to fund a new person to be the GOP nominee.”

Zwick leads fundraising efforts for House Speaker Paul Ryan, and he did the same for Mitt Romney in 2012. He tells The Associated Press that a write-in campaign relying on social media could “actually work.”

There’s never been a winning write-in campaign in a U.S. presidential contest. Many states do not allow write-in candidates for president, while others require them to register. Early voting is also already underway in several states.

Zwick did not identify which “new person” might be the focus of a write-in campaign. He was briefly supportive of a third run for Romney last year.


9:34 a.m.

The leaders of a pair of advocacy groups are equating Donald Trump’s vulgar comments about women — caught on tape — with sexual assault.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards says in a statement that having a presidential candidate engage in such behavior is “an excuse for harassment from others.”

And here’s what NOW President Terry O’Neill says: “Someone with such disrespect for women, with such a misogynistic lifestyle who boasts about using his power to sexually assault women cannot — and will not — be the leader of this country.”

Trump early Saturday apologized for the 2005 comments. But he also dismissed the revelations as “nothing more than a distraction” from race against Democrat Hillary Clinton.


9 a.m.

Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse (sas) is joining the list of Republicans calling on Donald Trump to abandon his presidential bid.

Sasse says in a tweet that “character matters” and Trump “is obviously not going to win.”

Sasse says Trump “can still make an honorable move” by stepping aside and letting his running mate — Mike Pence — have a try.

Sasse has been a vocal critic of Trump for months. He joins a handful of Republican officials who have called on Trump quit — including Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman.


2:27 a.m.

In a videotaped midnight apology, Donald Trump is declaring “I was wrong and I apologize” after being caught on tape making vulgar and sexually charged comments.

Yet he’s also dismissing the revelations as “nothing more than a distraction” from a decade ago. And he’s signaling he’d close his campaign by arguing that Democrat Hillary Clinton has committed greater sins against women.

Trump’s videotaped statement capped a jarring day that threatened to sink the businessman’s White House bid and sent Republicans into a panic just over a month from Election Day and on the cusp of Sunday’s debate.

Outraged GOP lawmakers condemned Trump’s comments. Trump is heard in the 2005 video bragging about women letting him kiss and grab them because he is famous.

comments powered by Disqus