ST. LOUIS ― At this point, there is no question that Hillary Clinton’s marital history will come up Sunday night during the second presidential debate. The only question is what else Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump may do to embarrass himself, his party and his country in this nightmare of a campaign.
“I’ve said some foolish things, but there is a big difference between words and actions,” Trump said in a video his campaign released Saturday morning. “Bill Clinton has actually abused women and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims. We will discuss this more in the coming days.”
The statement ― issued nearly 12 hours after a 2005 recording emerged of Trump speaking about women in lewd and derogatory terms ― was less a sincere apology and more a declaration of war. The comments about unwanted sexual advances and groping women did not matter because they were more than a decade old, Trump claimed, yet he maintained that former President Bill Clinton’s indiscretions and scandals ― and his wife’s response to them ― were fair game.
The faux apology did little to staunch the steady wave of GOP defections over the weekend. Many party officials initially issued cautious condemnations, calling Trump’s comments “inexcusable,” “repulsive” or “sickening” ― without indicating whether they were withdrawing their support for the nominee. Others, however, went further by calling on Trump to exit the race entirely and allow his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, to assume the nomination.