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Senior Republicans Drop Support For Trump Ahead Of U.S. Presidential Debate

  • RFE/RL

The newly leaked lewd comments made a decade ago by Donald Trump (left) are bound to feature in his second debate with his U.S. presidential rival Hillary Clinton (right) on October 9.

The newly leaked lewd comments made a decade ago by Donald Trump (left) are bound to feature in his second debate with his U.S. presidential rival Hillary Clinton (right) on October 9.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are preparing to meet in their second face-to-face presidential debate, nearly one month before the election.

The debate in St. Louis, Missouri, comes as more senior Republicans withdrew support for Trump after the release on October 7 of a 2005 recording of him making lewd comments about women and boasting about behavior that could amount to sexual assault.

Republican senators, members of the House of Representatives, governors, and former political figures have called on Trump to quit the campaign.

Clinton has called Trump’s comments "horrific."

The billionaire real estate tycoon has issued a rare apology for the remarks and vowed to continue his campaign for the November 8 election.

He also attacked his Democratic rival and her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

"Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, and shamed his victims,” he said in his video apology.

"We'll discuss this in the coming days," Trump added. "See you at the debate on Sunday [October 9]."

“Donald Trump should step aside,” Republican Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan said after the comments emerged. “I will support [vice presidential nominee] Mike Pence for president.”

Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wrote on Facebook that Trump should withdraw, adding that she will "support someone who has the dignity and stature to run for the highest office in the greatest democracy on earth."

Former California Governor and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger called on all Republicans to withdraw their support for Trump, saying "it is not only acceptable to choose your country over your party -- it is your duty."

'More Revelations Coming'

U.S. Senator John McCain (Republican-Arizona), who was the Republican presidential candidate in 2008, issued a statement saying he will not vote for Trump, but stopped short of calling on him to withdraw.

Former New York Governor George Pataki called Trump’s campaign "a poisonous mix of bigotry and ignorance."

The entire Republican leadership of the conservative western state of Utah, including Governor Gary Herbert, has called on Trump to step aside.

The Deseret, a Utah newspaper owned by the Mormon church, published an editorial saying that Trump's comments demonstrate "a willingness to use and discard other human beings at will."

"That characteristic is the essence of a despot," the editorial continued in its call for him to withdraw from the race.

A few hundred Trump supporters gathered outside the Trump Tower skyscraper in New York City, and Trump made a brief appearance to wave to them.

Meanwhile, Bill Pruitt, a former producer of The Apprentice, the reality television show that featured Trump, posted on Twitter that "there are far worse" tapes of Trump that have yet to come to light, adding the hashtag "#justthebeginning."

Fox News journalist Ed Henry tweeted that former Republican presidential contender and Trump adviser Ben Carson had told him that there are "more revelations coming."

With reporting by AFP, the BBC, Reuters, AP,, dpa, and The Hill