Most S.C. GOP leaders will vote for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump despite a vulgar video from 2005 that surfaced over the weekend.
In the video, Trump used crude language when telling former Access Hollywood co-host Billy Bush that he tried to seduce Nancy O’Dell, a Clemson University graduate and Miss South Carolina 1987.
S.C. Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster, who delivered a speech nominating Trump at the Republican National Convention, said he still plans to support his party’s nominee.
“Nobody can defend that offensive conversation,” McMaster said. But, he added, Trump has apologized.
Never miss a local story.
“I am strongly for Donald Trump,” McMaster said, adding other issues are more important, including control of the Supreme Court. “Nothing’s changed.”
Meanwhile, S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley, who previously had said she would vote for Trump, said Monday she is not focused on politics, concentrating instead on the Palmetto State’s recovery from Hurricane Matthew.
“I really have total tunnel vision on making sure that we get South Carolina up and running,” Haley said. “Politically, I'm checked out from all that."
U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-Charleston, told the Post and Courier that he still will vote for Trump but criticized the video.
“That’s awful, it’s disgusting,” Scott said of the video. “It’s not even a question on what he was involved in. Whatever he was involved in, I would never stick around to hear the end of that story.”
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-Seneca, weighed-in on Twitter over the weekend, criticizing the business mogul and reality TV star again. Graham, who unsuccessfully ran for the GOP nomination this year, previously had said he will not vote for Trump.
But three S.C. GOP congressmen said they will vote for Trump anyway.
"As a father to three boys who has taught them that women are to be cherished and respected, I found Donald Trump's comments to be horrendous and indefensible,” said U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-Laurens. “That being said, I continue to be more concerned with Hillary Clinton's actions than I am with Donald Trump's words.”
U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-Springdale, said he still supports Trump, too.
"I appreciate Mr. Trump has apologized for his indefensible comments,” Wilson said in a statement, adding, “Yet, Secretary Clinton has never apologized for her indefensible conduct.”
U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-Spartanburg, said Trump's comments are indefensible and do not reflect the values of the Republican Party.
Gowdy said he told his mother, wife, daughter and three sisters that Trump’s comments were not "locker room" talk, as Trump his portrayed them. “I have been in many locker rooms and have never heard this kind of talk. There are men — in politics and out — who respect women at all times in public and in private."
Gowdy went on to criticize Clinton for calling Trump’s supporters deplorable, and Democrats for “rigging the primary to deny Bernie Sanders a chance.”
U.S. Reps. Mick Mulvaney, R-Indian Land; Tom Rice, R-Myrtle Beach, and Mark Sanford, R-Charleston, did not respond to requests for comment.
SC Democrats again urge SC Republicans to reject Trump
S.C. Democrats on Monday again called on the state's Republicans leaders to disavow Trump, saying a video released Friday only confirmed their concerns about the GOP presidential nominee.
"This was not a shocking revelation," said state Rep. Mandy Powers Norrell, D-Lancaster.
"Any politician who withdraws their support only now is clearly acting out of calculation, not out of their own personal principles. And any politician who continues to support Donald Trump is even further beyond the pale.
“The moral bankruptcy of Donald Trump and his enablers will not be forgotten."