Tag Archives: offense

Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson stands by Donald Trump

Wisconsin Republicans either reiterated their support for Donald Trump or said nothing this week, even after House Speaker Paul Ryan told nervous members of his caucus that he would not defend Trump or campaign with him before the election.

Incumbent Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson and Rep. Sean Duffy, whose northern Wisconsin district was the only one Trump carried in the April primary, both stood by Trump while Gov. Scott Walker, legislative leaders and others were silent.

“I never endorsed Donald Trump because of his stance on women or his family values,” Duffy said in a statement. “I endorsed him for his policies … four years of Hillary Clinton would be unacceptable.”

Johnson told reporters following a campaign stop in Waukesha that he intended to vote for Trump because a Clinton presidency “would be the worst possible thing.”

“She’s completely disqualified from being president,” he said, implying that Trump is qualified.

Johnson alleged Clinton’s “dereliction of duty” cost four American lives in Benghazi and her use of a private email server put national security at risk. Johnson, in an earlier radio interview, repeated false claims that Clinton “trashed the women that Bill Clinton abused” — a line of attack that Trump used against her in the presidential debate Sunday.

Johnson said the real question is why his opponent, Democrat Russ Feingold, continues to back Clinton.

Feingold, meanwhile, repeated his call for Johnson to revoke his support of Trump.

More than two dozen Republicans in Congress have called on Trump to step down and at least a dozen more have pulled their support, including Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte who are in tough re-election fights in battleground states.

Trump’s campaign was thrown into crisis with the release of audio from 2005 that captured Trump making vulgar remarks and bragging about how his fame allowed him to “do anything” to women.

During the second presidential debate, the businessman dismissed his comments as “locker room” talk and insisted he had “great respect for women.”

At the debate, Trump turned up his attacks on Clinton, labeling her “the devil” and asserting that if he were president, he’d put her in jail.

Trump also accused former President Bill Clinton of having been “abusive to women.”

While Johnson and other Republicans stood by Trump, Ryan told House Republicans that he would not defend or campaign for Trump and instead would focus on helping Republicans maintain their majority in the House, said one person on the call who demanded anonymity to describe the private conversation.

Ryan did not pull his own tepid endorsement of Trump, who shot back on Twitter that Ryan “should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting Republican nominee.”

Ryan canceled a Trump campaign appearance in Wisconsin over the weekend in what would have been their first joint appearance. The speaker was heckled by some Trump supporters as he addressed the rally that was originally designed as a display of party unity.

Rep. Glenn Grothman, who represents the 5th Congressional District in the eastern part of the state, stood by Trump. He told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “I am not prepared to have four more years of open borders, four more years of over-regulation of industry and four more years of spiraling welfare rolls just yet. I don’t feel like waiting four more years.”

The 8th Congressional District in northeast Wisconsin is open this year, and Ryan has said he’s focused on helping Mike Gallagher win the seat against Democrat Tom Nelson.

Gallagher criticized Trump’s comments about women but has been generally supportive of his candidacy.

On Monday, Gallagher again denounced Trump’s comments as “offensive and reprehensible” but said Clinton can’t be president because of how she handled the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, when she was secretary of state.

Republican Rep. Reid Ribble, who holds the seat now and is retiring after this year, was an early Trump opponent.

On the Web

Ron Johnson’s re-election campaign.

Russ Feingold’s campaign.

 

Why did Republicans wait until now to dump Trump?

Why now? And why this? For the legion of Republicans who abandoned Donald Trump on Saturday, recoiling in horror from comments their party’s White House nominee made about using his fame to prey on women, there is no escaping those questions.

For months, they stomached his incendiary remarks about Mexicans, Muslims, prisoners of war, a Gold Star military family and a Hispanic judge, along with offensive statements about women too numerous to count. Democratic critics argue that their silence — or the promise to vote for Trump, but not endorse him — amounted to tacit approval of misogyny and racism.

There were no good answers Saturday, and few Republicans attempted to offer any.

Some, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, didn’t say anything at all about the top of the party’s ticket. A steady stream of others revoked their endorsements or called for Trump to drop out of the race, condemning the New York billionaire in emailed statements and carefully crafted tweets.

Those fleeing from Trump may ultimately say it was the shock of hearing and seeing the businessman’s crudeness on video that prompted them to finally walk away. On Friday, The Washington Post and NBC News both released a 2005 recording of Trump describing attempts to have sex with a married woman. His words were caught on a live microphone while talking with Billy Bush, then a host of “Access Hollywood.”

Some may draw a distinction between Trump’s outrageous earlier comments about women, minorities and others by noting that this time, the businessman wasn’t just being offensive — he was describing actions that could be considered sexual assault. In the video, Trump is heard saying that his fame allows him to “do anything” to women.

“Grab them by the p—-. You can do anything,” he says.

But with a month until Election Day, and early voting already underway in several states, the truest answer to why Republicans are dropping Trump now — and why they’re dropping him over this — is likely political.

During the Republican primary, GOP officials worried that disavowing Trump would alienate his supporters and hurt the party in congressional races. In the general election, Trump’s crass behavior also seemed easier for Republicans to tolerate when stacked up against Democrat Hillary Clinton, a candidate so reviled by many in the GOP that virtually nothing Trump did seemed worse than the prospect of her becoming president.

But these new revelations come at a time when the White House race seems to be slipping away from Trump. He’s been unable to attract support beyond that offered by his core backers. His performance in the first debate was undisciplined and he followed it up by tangling with a beauty queen whom he shamed two decades ago for gaining weight.

“There were people who were just starting to feel like this ship was going down and now this gives people a good excuse to jump off,” said Katie Packer, a Republican strategist who advised Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign and led an unsuccessful effort to prevent Trump from becoming the GOP nominee.

While some Republicans expressed astonishment and dismay over Trump’s 2005 comments, those who steadfastly refused to endorse him throughout the campaign suggested their party knew full well what they were getting with the brash real estate mogul and reality TV star.

“Nothing that has happened in the last 48 hours is surprising to me or many others,” said Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who was critical of Trump when he ran against him in the primary and has remained so for months.

Privately, even Republicans who didn’t formally revoke their support for Trump conceded there was little he could do to right his campaign at this point. Early voting is already underway in some key states and the comments aired in the video will likely be unforgivable with independent women, a constituency Trump desperately needs to win if he has any hope of beating Clinton.

The last hope now for many Republicans is that an unimaginable election year will still end with the GOP in control of the Senate. New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Nevada Rep. Joe Heck, both locked in tight races, joined the parade of officials Saturday who said they simply couldn’t stand by Trump anymore.

For Ayotte, the move earned her no quarter from her Democratic opponent, New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan.

“She has had one example after the next of Donald Trump’s despicable words and his despicable behavior as reasons that she should have disavowed him,” Hassan said. “It took her until now when the revelation of his comments from a decade ago were made to decide that politically she couldn’t stand with him anymore.”

Look for more of the same in races nationwide. Democrats made clear Saturday they would spend the next month trying to ensure they and other Republicans get no credit for walking away now.

Senator apologizes for retweeting derogatory reference to Walker

Democratic Sen. Dave Hansen has apologized to “anyone offended” by his retweet of a message that included a profane, derogatory reference to Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

Hansen said this week he was trying to share a tweet about new limits on political corruption investigations when he inadvertently posted the a Twitter message that’s derogatory to the governor and people with disabilities. 

Hansen says it’s not the message he wanted to retweet. 

The governor’s office had no immediate comment.

Ex-Honolulu councilman apologizes for anti-gay comments

Former Honolulu City Councilman Gary Okino is apologizing to gays, lesbians and their supporters for comments he made during a confirmation hearing.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell withdrew the 71-year-old’s nomination to the city’s Ethics Board of Appeals after he told city councilors on that he has “no tolerance for homosexuality,” and that gay people “are in danger not only spiritually, but physically.”

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports Okino said in a statement on Jan. 26 that Caldwell’s decision was appropriate.

Okino says he was being overzealous in his efforts to respond to allegations against him.