A Republican senator from New Hampshire said she no longer could support Donald Trump for president after seeing a video of him using vulgar language to describe kissing women without permission and grabbing their genitals.
“I’m a mom and an American first,” Kelly Ayotte said in a statement Saturday. “I cannot and will not support a candidate for president who brags about degrading and assaulting women.”
A Republican senator from Arizona said Saturday that after his nominee had criticized Mexicans and prisoners of war and a Gold Star family, Trump had finally gone too far in laughing about how he sexually assaults women.
“No woman should ever be victimized by this kind of inappropriate behavior,” John McCain said in withdrawing his support for Trump.
What about the senators from North Carolina?
The Republican governor from Tennessee, Bill Haslam, showed Americans that loyalty to his party can take him only so far. “The character in our leaders does matter,” he said in renouncing his support for Trump. The Republican governor of New Mexico, Dennis Daugaard, agreed. “Enough is enough,” he said.
What about the governor of North Carolina?
More than 20 U.S. representatives, from all over the country, withdrew their support of Trump. They were from red states and battleground states. They called Trump “vile” and “unfit” and “unacceptable as a candidate for president.”
Where was our Republican representative from Mecklenburg?
As an editorial board, we generally don’t demand that candidates and office holders answer for someone else’s troubling words. But the Republican nominee for president has been caught on video bragging about sexual assault. He boasts about being able to get away with it because he’s a star.
That video, from 11 years ago, is not at all inconsistent with Trump’s attitude and language toward women now. More accounts of his revolting behavior are surfacing.
How many do our state’s leaders need?
N.C. senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, along with N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory, condemned the 2005 video. But incredibly, they did not say that it cost Trump their support. U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger also had harsh words for the video, but said flatly he still was supporting Trump for president.
We’re not naive. McCrory, Burr and Pittenger are in close races for re-election, and they are reluctant to lose the votes of Trump supporters. It’s why most Republican candidates had closed their eyes to Trump’s disqualifying behavior before.
But there are moments that should rise above political calculations. This might be especially true for those candidates who supported HB2. We wonder how it’s possible to laud the supposed protection that law provides women, yet look the other way when your presidential nominee says that kissing women without permission is OK, that grabbing their vaginas is OK, that “you can do anything.”
That is not “locker room talk,” as Trump said again at Sunday night’s presidential debate. It is a state of mind. And the actions he bragged about? They are crimes.
Other Republicans understand this. They didn’t hold their finger to the political wind last weekend. They didn’t say they would wait for contrition that will never come. They did the right, and decent, thing.