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Republicans Call For Donald Trump To Drop Out; Trump Says He Won't Quit

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump points out to the crowd of supporters as he arrives at a campaign rally on Oct. 4, 2016 in Prescott Valley, Arizona.
Ralph Freso
Getty Images
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump points out to the crowd of supporters as he arrives at a campaign rally on Oct. 4, 2016 in Prescott Valley, Arizona.

Reaction to the video of Donald Trump using explicit language and apparently describing himself forcing himself on women continues to roll in. And it is not good for the GOP nominee. Prominent Republicans are calling on him to drop out and elected officials are running from him and fast. .

The candidate isn't backing down, telling the Washington Post's Robert Costa in an interview today, "I'd never withdraw. I've never withdrawn in my life."

The Post reports, Trump called from his home in Trump Tower and said, "No, I'm not quitting this race. I have tremendous support."

Trump also tweeted, seemingly downplaying the firestorm that has consumed his campaign.

Just to give a sense of how bad things have gotten in the past 24 hours, he's lost Hugh Hewitt.

The conservative talk show host had been a strong supporter of Trump arguing Republicans must back him to get a conservative justice on the Supreme Court.

Carly Fiorina, who lost to Trump in the GOP primary, called for him to step aside and for the Republican Party to run vice president nominee Mike Pence in his place.

Add senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ), neither of whom endorsed Trump, to the growing list of prominent and elected republicans to get out.

But, this would be significantly easier said than done according to a leading Republican election lawyer.

"People in the GOP are understandably nervous. People are looking for an escape," Ben Ginsberg told NPR. "The rules don't provide a ready-made escape. Nor do ballot rules, nor the electoral college. While people are looking for an out, this die was cast in Cleveland."

Ginsberg, who is a partner at the Jones Day law firm, spoke with the NPR Politics Podcast.

"The RNC rules allow for replacement of a candidate on death or declining the nomination, but no provision for replacing," said Ginsberg. "At this stage, Donald Trump would have to resign. There's no way to stage a coup."

If Trump were to resign, Ginsberg says, the GOP would have to go through a complicated process to nominate a new candidate.

"Under the rules, if there is a vacancy, it doesn't go to the VP candidate. It's a matter of rules. It can be anyone. Part of what the RNC would have to do is figure out the nomination rules to see who would be eligible. It's an all-bets-are-off scenario. There might be a political consensus for Mike Pence, but it is not mandated by the rules," he said.

But it is four weeks from election day. And the idea of a drawn out fight over the top ticket is almost politically unfathomable.

Elected republicans aren't waiting. They are now running away from their party's nominee. Senator Kelly Ayotte who is in a tough race for re-election and never endorsed Trump, now says she won't vote for him either.

Congresswoman Martha Roby in deep red Alabama says she can't support him either.

The reason is simple, as seasoned political analyst Stuart Rothenberg put it on Twitter, "This certainly raises the possibility of a down-ballot bloodbath for Republicans."

Trump was initially supposed to attend a rally today in Wisconsin with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Then after the video release, it was announced that Pence would attend in Trump's place. Now the Trump campaign confirms Pence won't be attending the rally either.

Sen. John Thune (R-SD), a member of the GOP's leadership, tweeted that Trump should drop out immediately.

For elected Republicans, it is rapidly becoming clear that merely rejecting Trump's remarks isn't enough. Every one of them can expect to be asked whether they are withdrawing their endorsements and whether they will even vote for their party's nominee.

Republicans Calling For Trump To Step Aside

  • Sen. John Thune (South Dakota): Third highest ranking Republican in the Senate, previously said he would support the nominee
  • Sen. Mark Kirk (Illinois): Ran campaign ads distancing himself from Trump
  • Sen. Ben Sasse (Nebraska): Prominent "Never Trumper"
  • Sen. Deb Fischer (Nebraska): Withdrew previous endorsement
  • Sen. Mike Crapo (Idaho): Withdrew previous endorsement
  • Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia): Said the "appropriate next step may be for him to reexamine his candidacy;" Withdrew previous endorsement
  • Sen. Dan Sullivan (Alaska): Withdrew previous endorsement
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska): Tweeted that Trump has "forfeited the right to be our party's nominee," Did not endorse Trump previously
  • Sen. Cory Gardner (Colorado): Withdrew previous endorsement
  • Sen. Jeff Flake (Arizona): Did not endorse Trump previously
  • Rep. Martha Roby (Alabama): Withdrew previous endorsement
  • Rep. Bradley Byrne (Alabama): Withdrew previous endorsement
  • Sen. Mike Lee (Utah): Did not endorse Trump previously
  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Utah): Withdrew previous endorsement
  • Rep. Mia Love (Utah): Did not endorse Trump previously
  • Rep. Chris Stewart (Utah): Withdrew previous endorsement
  • Rep. Barbara Comstock (Virginia)
  • Rep. Mike Coffman (Colorado)
  • Rep. Charlie Dent (Pennsylvania): Previously said he is not voting for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton in the general election
  • Rep. Patrick Meehan (Pennsylvania)
  • Rep. Ann Wagner (Missouri): Withdrew previous endorsement
  • Rep. Rodney Davis (Illinois): Withdrew previous endorsement
  • Rep. Fred Upton (Michigan)
  • Rep. Justin Amash (Michigan)
  • Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (Nebraska)
  • Rep. Frank LoBiondo (New Jersey): Said he will write in Mike Pence
  • Rep Scott Garrett (New Jersey): Withdrew previous endorsement
  • Gov. Dennis Daugaard (South Dakota): Withdrew previous endorsement
  • Joe Heck, Senate Candidate (Nevada): Is running for Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid's seat
  • Darryl Glenn, Senate Candidate (Colorado): Withdrew previous support
  • Carly Fiorina, former presidential candidate
  • George Pataki, former New York governor
  • Jon Huntsman, former Utah governor
  • Hugh Hewitt, conservative radio talk show host, previous Trump backer
  • Condoleeza Rice, former secretary of state: Wrote that as a Republican, she hopes "to support someone who has the dignity and stature to run for the highest office in the greatest democracy on earth."
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    Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.
    Meg Anderson is an assistant producer on NPR's investigations team. She helps shape the team's groundbreaking work for radio, digital and social platforms. She served as a producer on the Peabody Award-winning series Lost Mothers, which investigated the high rate of maternal mortality in the United States. She also contributes her own original reporting to the team, including the series Heat and Health in American Cities, which investigated the link between heat, health and poverty in cities across the country. That series won the National Press Foundation Innovative Storytelling Award and an honorable mention for the Philip Meyer Journalism Award. She also completed a fellowship as a local reporter for WAMU, the public radio station for Washington, D.C. Before joining the investigations team, she was an integral part of NPR's 2016 election team and also had brief stints on NPR's Morning Edition and the Education desk. Her roots are in the Midwest, where she graduated with a Master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.
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