The Corner

An Updated Roster of Anti-Trump Republicans

UPDATE — 10:30 p.m. ET: Ohio Senator Rob Portman is the latest Republican to climb aboard the anti-Trump bandwagon. Portman, who is cruising to reelection in the Buckeye State, released a statement Saturday night withdrawing his support of Trump — and announcing his intention of writing in Pence’s name for president. “I thought it was appropriate to respect the millions of voters across the country who chose Donald Trump as the Republican Party nominee. While I continue to respect those who still support Donald Trump, I can no longer support him. … I will be voting for Mike Pence for President.” Portman’s announcement brings the overall count of anti-Trump Republicans — among congressmen, senators, and governors — to 55.

UPDATE — 7:30 p.m. ET: The ranks of anti-Trump Republicans continue to swell. Of the GOP’s 331 total congressmen, senators, and governors, 54 of them — or 16 percent – have now publicly stated their opposition to the Republican nominee. That tally, according to the expert whip-counter @Taniel, includes two dozen Republicans who withdrew their support after the release of Friday’s video in which Trump can be heard making extremely vulgar comments about women. Some have rescinded their endorsements, while others have gone further in calling on Trump to step aside and allow Mike Pence to replace him as the party’s nominee.

That group of 24 includes several Republicans who are facing competitive reelection fights. One of them is John McCain, the GOP’s 2008 presidential nominee, who issued the following statement Saturday afternoon: “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.”

The other 23 Republicans who are newly opposed to Trump:

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (NH)

Gov. Robert Bentley (AL)

Rep. Bradley Byrne (AL)

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (WV)

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (UT)

Sen. Mike Crapo (ID)

Gov. Dennis Dauggard (SD)

Rep. Rodney Davis (IL)

Sen. Deb Fischer (NE)

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (NE)

Sen. Cory Gardner (CO)

Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ)

Gov. Gary Herbert (UT)

Rep. Cresent Hardy (NV)

Rep. Joe Heck (NV)

Rep. Frank LoBiondo (NJ)

Sen. John McCain (AZ)

Rep. Erik Paulsen (MN)

Rep. Tom Rooney (FL)

Rep. Martha Roby (AL)

Rep. Chris Stewart (UT)

Sen. Dan Sullivan (AK)

Sen. John Thune (SD)

Rep. Ann Wagner (MO)

They join an original group of 18 Republicans who, according to @Taniel, were already on-record with their opposition to Trump before Friday’s video, and another 12 whose position on Trump prior to the video was not entirely clear, but who are now publicly opposed. 

Once again, the grand total of anti-Trump Republican congressmen, senators and governors has now reached 54, and it could easily double by Monday morning depending on Trump’s conduct in Sunday night’s debate. We’re currently witnessing a historic break between a major political party and its nominee for the presidency. — Tim Alberta

  

Republicans, including a member of Senate leadership, have begun to call on Trump to drop out of the race. 

Moments ago, South Dakota senator John Thune, the GOP conference chair, said on Twitter that Trump should “withdraw and Mike Pence should be our nominee effective immediately” in the wake of the publication, by the Washington Post, of videotape that shows Trump making vulgar remarks about and bragging about his sexual advances on Entertainment Tonight co-anchor Nancy O’Dell. Idaho senator Mike Crapo withdrew his support, and Utah senator Mike Lee, who never endorsed Trump, nonetheless demanded that Pence replace him on the top of the ticket.

Trump, meanwhile, appears hell bent on destroying the party of which he has nominally been a member, telling the Wall Street Journal there is “zero chance” he’ll quit. He offered the Washington Post this apt turn of phrase: “I’ve never withdrawn in his life.” 

Meanwhile, in the House, Oversight Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz has withdrawn his support. Virginia representative Barbara Comstock, who was in the mid-1990s one of the most prominent anti-Clinton opposition researchers. She too has called on Trump to “step aside and allow our party to replace him.” Colorado representative Mike Coffman and Utah representative Chris Stewart have jumped on the bandwagon, too. 

At the same time, the party’s most prominent members — House speaker Paul Ryan, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, and potential 2020 presidential candidates like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio — have denounced Trump’s actions without withdrawing their support. 

One aspect of the thorny challenge they face is this: A month out from the election, with early voting already underway in many states, it’s virtually (and perhaps legally) impossible to remove Trump’s name from the ballot. The Republican National Committee’s rules counsel, Jim Bopp, tells Real Clear Politics “it is impossible” to replace Trump atop the Republican ticket at this point and that doing so would be “politically suicidal.” Marc Elias, a top Democratic campaign lawyer, and Ben Ginsberg, a top Republican campaign lawyer, said much the same thing on Saturday in other forums. 

Nonetheless, there is certainly a sense that the dam is beginning to break — Republican elected officials are deserting Trump – and that many more will follow. 

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