Former Republican presidential nominee John McCain has withdrawn his support from Donald Trump, adding to the growing list of GOP officeholders who announced Saturday that they will not support their party's standard-bearer in the election.
"Cindy and I will not vote for Donald Trump," the Arizona senator and 2008 presidential nominee announced in a statement Saturday that also referred to the views of his wife, Cindy McCain. "I have never voted for a Democratic presidential candidate and we will not vote for Hillary Clinton. We will write in the name of some good conservative Republican who is qualified to be President."
Donald Trump earlier on Saturday said there is "zero chance I'll quit" despite the increasing number of GOP officials either calling for him to leave the race or withdrawing their endorsement of him. Trump told The Wall Street Journal, "I never, ever give up" and there is "zero chance I'll quit."
“The support I’m getting is unbelievable, because Hillary Clinton is a horribly flawed candidate,” the GOP presidential nominee added. In regard to his lewd comments in 2005 captured on a videotape released Friday by the Washington Post, Trump said, “People get it. They get life.”
Growing calls by Republicans for Trump to withdraw his candidacy
Fallout in response to the candidate's comments is growing in the Republican ranks. Among those calling for Trump to withdraw as the party's nominee are Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo, Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, South Dakota Sen. John Thune and conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt. Some, such as Sasse and Flake, were never supporting the nominee, and Hewitt only announced in June that he was backing Trump.
Donald Trump should withdraw and Mike Pence should be our nominee effective immediately.— Senator John Thune (@SenJohnThune) October 8, 2016
Character matters.@realDonaldTrump is obviously not going to win.— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) October 8, 2016
But he can still make an honorable move:
Step aside & let Mike Pence try.
For the benefit of the country, the party and his family, and for his own good, @realDonaldTrump should withdraw. More and worse oppo coming— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) October 8, 2016
Arizona Sen. Flake, who has been a prominent detractor of Trump’s throughout the election, took to Twitter to again disparage his party’s nominee following the recording’s release.
Many other GOP officeholders announced they won't vote for Trump
New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Alabama Rep. Martha Roby, Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo, Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock are among those who have announced they could not back their party's nominee following the release of the videotaped comments.
"I cannot in good conscience vote for Donald Trump, and I would never vote for Hillary Clinton," Comstock said in a statement, calling the nominee's videotaped remarks "disgusting, vile, and disqualifying."
Ayotte, who is seeking reelection, wrote in a statement that she will be writing in Pence's name on Election Day. "I cannot and will not support a candidate for President who brags about degrading and assaulting women," she wrote.
Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz told Fox 13 News "I'm out," during an interview Friday. "I can no longer in good conscience endorse this person for president. It is some of the most abhorrent and offensive comments that you can possibly imagine.”
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert also said he will not vote for Trump. "Donald Trump's statements are beyond offensive & despicable. While I cannot vote for Hillary Clinton, I will not vote for Trump," he tweeted.
Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also denounced Trump, writing in part, "Like many Americans, I've been conflicted this election.... I want to take a moment to remind my fellow Republicans that it is not only acceptable to choose your country over your party -- it is your duty."
As proud as I am to label myself a Republican, there is one label that I hold above all else - American. My full statement: pic.twitter.com/biRvY8S3aZ— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) October 8, 2016
Several who ran against Trump in the GOP primary also took Trump to task
Ohio Gov. John Kasich made it clear that he "cannot and should not support" Trump for president both because of their policy differences and what he called Trump's "behavior" and lack of "a positive, inclusive vision."
"The actions of the last day are disgusting, but that’s not why I reached this decision," Kasich said. "It has been an accumulation of his words and actions that many have been warning about."
Some of Trump's former primary rivals tweeted their criticism of his remarks.
Donald's comments were vulgar, egregious & impossible to justify.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 8, 2016
No one should ever talk about any woman in those terms, even in private.
As the grandfather of two precious girls, I find that no apology can excuse away Donald Trump's reprehensible comments degrading women.— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) October 7, 2016
Other Republicans condemned the GOP presidential nominee's remarks
In a strongly worded statement, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan of Wisconsin said he was "sickened" by Trump's comments.
"Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified," Ryan said. "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." He added that Trump would not longer be attending a fall fest fundraiser in the speaker's home district on Saturday.
Trump's remarks on the video were also panned by the Republican National Committee. "No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.
Mitt Romney, the GOP's 2012 standard-bearer and a strong critic of Trump, tweeted his response to the leaked comments: "Hitting on married women? Condoning assault? Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America's face to the world."
Hitting on married women? Condoning assault? Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America's face to the world.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) October 8, 2016
Carly Fiorina, who lost to Trump in the GOP primary and subsequently served for a short time as Ted Cruz's vice presidential nominee, wrote in a Facebook post that she can't support Trump and the Republican National Committee should replace him with his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
Trump's apology and his recorded comments in 2005
Trump issued a video statement early Saturday saying "I was wrong" to make the comments.
But former Trump campaign chief Corey Lewandowski appeared to defend his former boss.
In the recording, Trump can be heard talking to former "Access Hollywood" host Billy Bush about how he makes moves on women to whom he’s attracted. In a statement reported by Politico, Bush apologized for the remarks.
Trump can be heard saying on the tape, "You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful -- I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait."
"And when you’re a star they let you do it... You can do anything."
"Grab them by the p----," Trump says. "You can do anything."
ABC News did not immediately receive a response from NBC Universal, which owns "Access Hollywood."