House Speaker Paul Ryan announced Friday night that Donald Trump would no longer attend a Republican event in Wisconsin on Saturday in the aftermath of lewd and sexually aggressive comments that surfaced.
“I am sickened by what I heard today. Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified,” Ryan said in a statement. “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.”
The Trump campaign said in a statement his running mate, Gov. Mike Pence, would attend the Wisconsin event in Trump’s place.
Trump will spend Saturday in New York preparing for the second presidential debate, according to his campaign.
Stakes raised for debate
The comments immediately raised the stakes for Sunday’s highly anticipated debate between Trump and Clinton, and the remarks could hand her — and viewers in the town hall audience — more evidence to make that point.
And the remarks prompted Trump — for the first time in his nearly 16-month campaign — to apologize.
“This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course – not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended,” Trump said in a statement released Friday.
Clinton’s campaign tweeted a link to the story and said simply, “This is horrific. We cannot allow this man to become president.”
Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine, campaigning in Las Vegas, said Trump’s comments “makes me sick to my stomach.”
“I don’t like to say the words that he’s used in the past when he calls women, ‘pigs, dogs and slobs’ … but this is behavior that’s just outrageous and so that there would be a news story that would have more statements like this of this kind, I mean, gosh, I’m sad to say that I’m not surprised,” Kaine said. “I should be surprised and shocked. I’m sad to say that I’m not.”
A Clinton campaign source told CNN the campaign strategy in the wake of the tape will be to press Republicans to say if they still think Trump should be president.
“Not just condemn what he said — but that he should be POTUS,” the source said.
Two people close to the campaign told CNN the former secretary of state was unlikely to speak about the controversy Friday night. But it has become a new subject of her debate prep, and the campaign will pressure Ryan and other Republicans to disavow Trump throughout the weekend.