After a full week of damaging headlines, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s mispronunciation of “Nevada” seems to be the least of his problems. Friday, The Washington Post released a conversation in 2005 between Access Hollywood and Trump that shows the candidate bragging about kissing and groping women. Since the release of the conversation, a number of Republican leaders, including Nevada Republicans Cresent Hardy and Joe Heck, have denounced Trump.
Throughout Nevada, Republicans are renouncing their support and endorsements of Trump. Gov. Brian Sandoval and Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison said Trump’s behavior was “repulsive and unacceptable,” while congressman and Senate candidate Joe Heck pulled his own endorsement of Trump on Saturday, Oct. 8. It was a nationwide trend that saw dozens of Republicans in tight races pulling support or openly criticizing the nominee.
Trump posted a 90-second video on social media in which he apologized for his comments. In the video, Trump told his supporters and viewers he is not a perfect person and that the comments from the 2005 video do not reflect who he is.
After briefly apologizing for the comments, Trump immediately went on the defense, saying, “I’ve said some foolish things, but there’s a big difference between the words and actions of other people. Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated her victims.”
Despite the candidate’s apology, Nevada Republican party leaders continued to issue statements denouncing Trump due to his lewd comments about women. However, Nevada voters are focused on Trump’s business experience and believe he will bring economic prosperity to the state and country.
“There is not one thing portrayed by Donald Trump that I disagree with,” said Cameron Cody, a freshman at the University of Nevada, Reno. “Obviously we need to strengthen business domestically, and removing restrictions from businesses will help us do that. Immigration is a big part of why America is economically in a wasteland right now, so we obviously need to have stronger immigration policies. There is truly nothing that Donald Trump stands for that is disagreeable or that is not fact.”
Trump is known and admired by his supporters for his unpredictability and for not being a traditional politician, while his opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is seen by voters as a conventional “establishment” politician.
“Trump is not a politician and he has made mistakes, but he certainly will be the best thing for this country,” said Terry Pahler, a Trump supporter, at the rally in Reno. “Hillary, on the other hand, I do not know and I am very concerned about it on a very high level.”
While Republicans across the nation withdraw their support for Trump, the Republican National Committee Chairman, Reince Priebus called an emergency conference call with members.
“I want to make it very clear that the RNC is in full coordination with the Trump campaign, and we have a great relationship with them,” Priebus said.
The statement and conference call came after House Speaker Paul Ryan announced he would no longer defend or campaign with Trump.
During Trump’s rally in Reno, he addressed his traditional campaign topics of taxes, international trade, immigration reform and Obamacare.
“The first thing we’re going to do is repeal and replace Obamacare,” Trump said.
The candidate proceeded to talk about his opponent’s strong support for the Affordable Care Act, despite comments made from former President Bill Clinton calling the program “the craziest thing in the world,” a statement Clinton has taken back.
Trump moved on to another hot topic, border patrol, to which the audience responded with a chant of “build the wall.”
The most recent poll in Nevada, taken Sept. 27 by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, shows Clinton one point ahead of Trump, but a Suffolk poll from two days later put Clinton’s lead at six points.
The poll data was released before the tape with Trump’s obscene comments about women and before Nevada Republicans withdrew their support for the candidate.
In a rally in Las Vegas, Nevada Republican candidate for Senate Joe Heck told the crowd he could not look past the behavior of Trump and could not vote for him or Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton for president.
The highly anticipated second presidential debate between Clinton and Trump aired Sunday, Oct. 9. The former secretary of state had a solid performance with a long list of new and old accusations against her opponent. Trump came into the debate with very little new information aside from arguing about his opponent’s controversial speeches released by WikiLeaks on Friday, Oct. 7.
As the Trump campaign went on the defense about its candidate’s comments about women, the Clinton campaign briefly had to answer concerns about speeches given by Hillary Clinton to major Wall Street banks including Goldman Sachs. The speeches released by WikiLeaks add to the theme that was highly present in the Democratic primary when Clinton was accused of being pro-Wall Street and a typical establishment candidate.
The Clinton campaign did not confirm the authenticity of the leaks.
When discussing Clinton’s emails and WikiLeaks speeches, Trump was strictly on attack mode. However, when discussing policy, Trump continued to find himself at odds with those in his party. When asked about whether he backs the use of military force against the Assad regime in Syria, he said he disagreed with his running mate, Gov. Mike Pence’s, view to use military force in Syria if necessary.
Pence responded to the comments Monday by saying he and Trump are “shoulder to shoulder” on Syria and the question was taken out of context.
Trump supporters are also strong Pence supporters and would like to see the two stand together despite Trump’s lack of experience in politics.
“Trump is not a politician, but Pence is very grounded and is very diametrically opposed to Trump’s personality, and I think what Trump might lack in let’s say governmental day-to-day expertise, he is going to know who to surround himself by,” Pahler said.
The election is only a month away and Trump has a lot of ground to make up in order to catch up to Clinton. With so many Nevada Republicans withdrawing support from Trump, the real-estate mogul’s future in the state is perhaps as unclear as ever.
Rachel Spacek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TheSagebrush