Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) joined the cavalcade of Republicans withdrawing their support for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump in the wake of Friday’s revelation that the businessman and reality TV star discussed aggressive sexual behavior toward women.
McCain, the party’s 2008 presidential nominee, became the most senior Republican so far to abandon Trump amid the biggest political crisis of his presidential candidacy. The party fears that Trump’s toxicity, particularly among female voters, could hurt the entire GOP ballot.
“There are no excuses for Donald Trump’s offensive and demeaning comments in the just released video; no woman should ever be victimized by this kind of inappropriate behavior. He alone bears the burden of his conduct and alone should suffer the consequences,” McCain said in a statement.
McCain had come under fire earlier Saturday from his opponent, Rep. Ann Kirpatrick (D-Ariz.), whose campaign has been flailing of late as McCain solidified his lead into the low double digits in what has been the most difficult election since his first race for Senate in 1986. Democrats accused McCain, who had been on the receiving end of many sharp attacks from Trump, of supporting the controversial nominee just to get through his Aug. 30 primary against a Trump supporter.
However, McCain said in an late August interview he had “no plans” to dump Trump once the primary was over, and after barely exceeding 50 percent in that Aug. 30 ballot, the 80-year-old incumbent had spent most of time accusing Kirkpatrick of being too liberal for the right-leaning state while studiously avoiding discussing Trump.
These latest comments, from a hot microphone during the taping of a 2005 TV appearance, were the final straw for McCain, whose wife, Cindy, has devoted much of her time in the family foundation to women’s rights, particularly abuse of women in Third World nations.
McCain now joins the entire Bush family and Mitt Romney in not supporting Trump, meaning the party’s presidential nominees in 1988, 1992, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 do not back Trump.
Here’s the full McCain statement:
“In addition to my well known differences with Donald Trump on public policy issues, I have raised questions about his character after his comments on Prisoners of War, the Khan Gold Star family, Judge Curiel and earlier inappropriate comments about women. Just this week, he made outrageous statements about the innocent men in the Central Park Five case.” As I said yesterday, there are no excuses for Donald Trump’s offensive and demeaning comments in the just released video; no woman should ever be victimized by this kind of inappropriate behavior. He alone bears the burden of his conduct and alone should suffer the consequences.
“I have wanted to support the candidate our party nominated. He was not my choice, but as a past nominee, I thought it important I respect the fact that Donald Trump won a majority of the delegates by the rules our party set. I thought I owed his supporters that deference.
“But Donald Trump’s behavior this week, concluding with the disclosure of his demeaning comments about women and his boasts about sexual assaults, make it impossible to continue to offer even conditional support for his candidacy. Cindy, with her strong background in human rights and respect for women fully agrees with me in this.
“Cindy and I will not vote for Donald Trump. I have never voted for a Democratic presidential candidate and we will not vote for Hillary Clinton. We will write in the name of some good conservative Republican who is qualified to be President.”