There are no longer any excuses for Donald Trump.
The man is an embarrassment. A cretin. That should have been clear some time ago, but after the most recent revelations of comments he made about women back in 2005 (see the video below if you need to catch up), there isn’t enough political cover in the world to justify endorsing this man to hold any public office.
This isn’t Trump being a blunt-talking outsider. This isn’t Trump eschewing political correctness. This is Trump making wise cracks about sexually assaulting women, and it is inexcusable.
What’s worse, Trump isn’t even really apologizing for the comments. “This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago,” he said. “Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course – not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.”
If anyone was offended?
Bill Clinton probably has said worse. Bill Clinton has done worse to women, unfortunately. But we aren’t talking about Bill Clinton. That man isn’t on the ballot.
Already, as I write this, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has withdrawn an invitation for Trump to attend a campaign event of his in Wisconsin tomorrow. “I am sickened by what I heard today,” Ryan 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.”
Congressman Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah, has gone a step further actually withdrawing his endorsement of Trump. “I’m out. I can no longer in good conscience endorse this person for president,” he said. “It is some of the most abhorrent and offensive comments that you can possibly imagine.”
It’s time for North Dakota Republicans to follow this lead, particularly the state’s top Republicans like Congressman Kevin Cramer, Senator John Hoeven, Governor Jack Dalrymple, and Fargo businessman Doug Burgum who, barring some electoral calamity, will be our next governor.
To Cramer’s credit, he’s not defending Trump’s remarks. “Obviously, I don’t condone that kind of behavior—that kind of talk,” Cramer, Trump’s most outspoken supporter here in North Dakota, told reporter Sam Easter. But he stopped short of withdrawing his support.
“I would fully expect that his attitude and demeanor would have changed in the meantime and going forward,” he said adding that Hillary Clinton’s “actions and words would land most people in jail.”
That’s bunk, Congressman Cramer, and you know it. Two wrongs do not make a right.
It’s frustrating that Republicans have put themselves in this situation where they must try and distract from Trump’s boorish and offensive behavior by painting his opponent as worse.
Hillary Clinton has proven to be an utterly uninspiring candidate. She’s a liar. She’s corrupt. It’s not hard to imagine just about any one of the other Republican candidates Trump defeated during the primaries holding a significant lead over her right now.
But we can only imagine that, because whatever awful things are true about Hillary Clinton, they become moot when we arrive back in this reality where Republicans chose Donald J. Trump, a human toothache, to be their nominee.
Republicans, both here in North Dakota and nationally, need to wash their hands of Trump and focus on trying to hold on to Congress.
UPDATE: Here’s an additional video statement from Trump apologizing for the comments, but also minimizing them as a “distraction” from more important issues.
UPDATE: In a statement Senator John Hoeven condemns Trump’s comments but stops short of withdrawing his support from the candidate: