Mississippi Republican officials were standing with GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump on Saturday in the wake of the release of tapes made several years ago showing Trump using lewd comments about women and sexual assault allegations.
Scores of public officials across the country retracted endorsements and renounced support for Trump once the tapes were revealed on Friday, including former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and U.S. Sen. John McCain. By Saturday afternoon, no Mississippi Republican had publicly broken with Trump.
State Treasurer Lynn Fitch, who leads the Mississippi Women for Trump campaign group, said she will continue supporting Trump’s candidacy for president, stating she will make this “a teachable moment for Mississippi’s girls and for my male counterparts in public office.”
“As a mother and as a woman in public office, I take my job as a role model very seriously,” Fitch said. “We need to teach today’s girls to be tomorrow’s leaders. That means teaching them to believe that the ability to do great things is not determined by sex, but by your mind, your skills, and your commitment. This task is made more difficult when public figures make comments like these.”
Gov. Phil Bryant, who has stumped and fundraised for Trump the past few months, called Trump’s comments “unacceptable” in a statement, but did not back away from his support for the candidate.
The Associated Press tweeted that in a statement, Bryant said Trump’s comments “do not square with the man I have gotten to know the past few months. He has done the right thing and apologized.”
U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker called Trump’s actions “reprehensible and impossible to defend.”
“Most of us have done things in life that make us ashamed and call for a true apology,” Wicker said in a statement Saturday. “It will be important to see if Donald Trump is able to demonstrate genuine remorse and humility.”
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, who has disclosed support for Trump in recent months, condemned the comments and said he is looking forward to Trump’s actions in the coming days.
“As a dad of girls, (Trump’s) remarks on video are reprehensible and outside the bounds of decency. I hope his apology is sincere,” Reeves tweeted Saturday morning.
Numerous officials in other states rolled back support for Trump throughout the day on Saturday. News media reports said the Republican National Committee is mulling options moving forward, including dropping Trump from the ticket. Such a move would be complicated by the fact that early voting has begun in several states, and ballots have been printed in others.