Republican leaders at odds over support of Trump - WSMV News 4

Republican leaders at odds over support of Trump

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Republican leaders in Tennessee are at odds over their support for Donald Trump.

After Trump's controversial and lewd remarks about women surfaced last week, Gov. Bill Haslam made one of his strongest statements yet, saying Trump should step aside.

The latest controversy started with a leaked recording of Donald Trump in a 2005 taping of Access Hollywood. You can hear the presidential candidate making vulgar sexual remarks about women.

TRUMP: 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."

BILLY BUSH: "Whatever you want," says another voice, apparently Bush's.

TRUMP: "Grab them by the p---y."

That statement, recorded on an open mic during the taping, sent shockwaves across the country. Haslam went as far as to say Trump should step aside.

"It is time for the good of the nation and the Republican Party for Donald Trump to step aside and let Gov. Mike Pence assume the role as the party's nominee," Haslam said in a statement. "If he does not step aside, I will write in a Republican for the Office of President,"

Trump posted a Facebook video about the controversial statements where he said, "I've said and done things that I regret."

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan announced he would no longer defend Trump. But some leaders refuse to abandon the Republican nominee.

Not long after the audio was released, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker was named to Trump's national security advisory council.

In a statement, Corker said, "These comments are obviously very inappropriate and offensive and his apology was absolutely necessary...I continue to make myself available to all entities who are in a position or may be in a position to influence how our nation leads in a very troubled world...

Other U.S. Republican women leaders are dismissing the comments, but not Trump as their candidate.

U.S. Congressman Diane Black (R-TN 6th District) said in a statement, "I would've yanked my son by the ear if he had talked that way when he was a teenager much less an adult. Our country's problems are severe and I am frustrated that Donald Trump's immaturity keeps distracting us. I condemn his attitudes toward women displayed in that tape. Like most Tennessee voters, however, I cannot bear the thought of Hillary Clinton controlling the Supreme Court or our foreign policy. America has too much at stake to risk her radical and dangerous policies."

U.S. Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN 7th District) said in a statement, "His comments are indefensible. While I do not agree with everything that he says, I share the same concerns on major issues facing our nation. The issues of national security, economic security, and religious liberty deserve our attention and best efforts."

Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell said Trump's comments "were offensive and demeaning to women." Her office did not respond to Channel 4's questions on if Harwell will support Trump.

House GOP Caucus Chair Glen Casada says he still does support Trump.

"I disagree with Paul Ryan," Casada said. "We've got Donald Trump who spoke things that are very demeaning that are not palatable or acceptable. Or, we've got Hillary Clinton who is a suppressor of charges and who suppresses women who bring up charges against her husband."

Casada went on to say he also disagrees with Haslam.

"The governor only got it halfway right because he concurrently should be calling for Hillary Clinton to step aside," Casada said. "Her actions are unacceptable, just like Donald Trump so either you call for both to step aside or you don't say anything."

Courtenay Rogers is a Democrat vying for Casada's in the Tennessee House, representing the 63rd district.

"I've never understood why people supported him in the first place. It's just mind-boggling," Rogers said. "I'm having a really hard time understanding how anyone could support him especially women. Especially women after this last debacle."

She said political leaders need to focus on their local districts.

Still other women leaders, like state Sen. Mae Beavers said despite his offensive remarks, they plan to vote for Donald Trump in November.

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