Sen. Mark Kirk calls on GOP to remove Trump from ticket


(Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) called on Republicans to remove Donald Trump from the ballot in a tweet posted Friday. The statement came after the Washington Post published leaked footage of Trump making lewd comments about women in 2005.

Sam Krevlin, Reporter

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who withdrew his support from Donald Trump in June, has called on the Republican Party to engage “rules for emergency replacement,” after the Washington Post published leaked footage of Trump bragging on a hot mic about groping women, saying “when you’re a star they let you do it.”

In a tweet posted Friday, the Republican senator wrote that Trump should drop out of the race. Kirk, who is locked in a tight Senate race against U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), has criticized Trump before. Kirk previously called Trump “too bigoted and racist” to be president, making Kirk one of the few Senate Republicans who has not endorsed the billionaire.

The leaked video was recorded in 2005 and includes audio of Trump speaking with Billy Bush of “Access Hollywood” about trying to seduce a married woman, saying, “I moved on her like a bitch.” He was also recorded talking about kissing women immediately, telling Bush, “It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. Don’t even wait.”

Many Republicans have begun to distance themselves from their nominee. Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee in 2008, said in a statement on Saturday that he would no longer be voting for Trump, writing that “no woman should ever be victimized by this kind of inappropriate behavior.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan disinvited Trump from a campaign appearance with him on Saturday in Wisconsin.

“I am sickened by what I heard today,” Ryan said in a statement published in the Los Angeles Times. “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.”

Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate, said he does not condone his remarks and cannot defend them.

In a video posted to his Facebook page, Trump apologized but said he would not withdraw from the race.

“I’ve never said I’m a perfect person nor pretended to be someone that I’m not,” Trump said. “I’ve said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more than a decade-old video are one of them. Anyone who knows me know these words don’t reflect who I am.”

Melania Trump, the nominee’s wife, said in a statement Saturday that the words Trump used in the leaked footage were “unacceptable and offensive to her,” but that she accepted his apology and hopes others will too.

Vice President Joe Biden criticized Trump’s comments in a tweet on Saturday, calling the behavior Trump was describing in the video as sexual assault and an “abuse of power.”

At a fundraising event for Duckworth in Chicago on Sunday, President Barack Obama condemned Trump’s rhetoric throughout the campaign, saying it has been “demeaning, degrading women, but also minorities, immigrants, people of other faiths,” according to the White House pool report.

“It tells you that he’s insecure enough that he pumps himself up in order to put other people down…it tells you that he doesn’t care much about the basic values that we try to impart to our kids,” the president said.

This story has been updated to include comments from Biden, Obama and Melania Trump.

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Twitter: @samkrevlin