Politics & Government

Upstate Republicans stand by Trump despite comments

By Chris Lavender

Spartanburg Herald-Journal

MaryAnn Riley signs “Rosie,” the name the National Federation of Republican Women gave the bus it is using to tour the nation in support of GOP candidates. The bus stopped for a brief rally at the Spartanburg Marriott.
MaryAnn Riley signs “Rosie,” the name the National Federation of Republican Women gave the bus it is using to tour the nation in support of GOP candidates. The bus stopped for a brief rally at the Spartanburg Marriott. Spartanburg Herald-Journal

Some Upstate supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said at a rally Thursday they'll continue to support the candidate despite strongly disagreeing with his comments about women.

During a brief campaign event at the Spartanburg Marriott by the National Federation of Republican Women, which has been stumping for GOP candidates nationwide, some local leaders criticized Trump's vulgar remarks about women captured in a 2005 recording.

"The comments themselves are disgusting," said Spartanburg County Councilman Justin Bradley before the rally started. "They are not comments I can excuse to my wife or to my daughter or explain away. I think they are probably damaging. It's certainly going to have an impact in the race, the question is what impact it's going to be."

Bradley said he doesn't believe there's much excitement for either Trump or Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

"I think what it really comes down to is it will probably push people to look more at the issues," Bradley said. "I hope people will look at it and say Republican and conservative policies are what they want to see."

That's the case for Carrie Almond, president of the National Federation of Republican Women.

"It doesn't affect my support,"Almond said following the rally. "It makes me uncomfortable that it happened, but I am certainly not a saint and so I am certain I have said things in my past that I regret, so I want to look at the whole man, look at his children, what outstanding citizens they are, look at the fact he is a successful businessman. I am looking at the whole picture, and so are the women that I rally with."

But Bev Brady, president of the South Carolina Federation of Republican Women, expressed concern about the strength of Trump's support, and emphasized the importance of getting out the vote.

"I think the lines are going to be long," Brady said. "I am not sure all of our hearts are in this completely."

Republican state Senate District 12 candidate Scott Talley said he's supporting Trump, but has concerns about the candidate.

"I certainly don't agree with what he said," Talley said. "I hope that his service, if elected, would reflect a much different approach to all folks than those comments do, but to me, it just comes down to a clear choice between a conservative and liberal Democrat in office."

Talley said he thinks the November election will be close.

"At this juncture it will probably come down to some undecided voters and who does the best job of getting their folks out to vote in November," Talley said.

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