Melania Trump says husband’s remarks ‘unacceptable and offensive to me’ as Trump vows not to drop out

Posted: 11:51 AM, Oct 08, 2016
Updated: 2016-10-08 19:30:52-04

NEW YORK —Donald Trump on Saturday vowed to "never" drop out of the presidential race as a growing chorus of Republicans urged him to do exactly that after sexually aggressive remarks he made in 2005 surfaced a day earlier.

The Republican presidential nominee told the Washington Post on Saturday morning, "I'd never withdraw. I've never withdrawn in my life." He also told the Wall Street Journal there was "zero chance I'll quit."

"They're not going to make me quit, and they can't make me quit," Trump said to the Post.

His unwavering attitude comes a day after a 2005 tape containing a recording of him speaking in vulgar terms about women was leaked.

Nancy O'Dell, the woman who Trump said in the video denied his attempt to seduce her, released a statement Saturday:

"Politics aside, I’m saddened that these comments still exist in our society at all. When I heard the comments yesterday, it was disappointing to hear such objectification of women. The conversation needs to change because no female, no person, should be the subject of such crass comments, whether or not cameras are rolling. Everyone deserves respect no matter the setting or gender. As a woman who has worked very hard to establish her career, and as a mom, I feel I must speak out with the hope that as a society we will always strive to be better."

Even Trump's wife, Melania, condemned the remarks, saying in a statement released by Trump's campaign Saturday afternoon, "The words my husband used are unacceptable and offensive to me."

"This does not represent the man that I know," she added. "He has the heart and mind of a leader. I hope people will accept his apology, as I have, and focus on the important issues facing our nation and the world."

Earlier Saturday, Trump tweeted, "Certainly has been an interesting 24 hours!"

It was his first comment since issuing a video apology for lewd remarks he made in the video that was unearthed Friday. Trump also made an appearance outside of the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue. He was greeted by a crowd of supporters.

His comments come as a growing number of Republican officeholders call on him to leave the race, although he said he's been getting calls of support after the video tape surfaced and created a storm both online and on television. Many who had previously endorsed him have also withdrawn their endorsements.

Arizona Sen. John McCain withdrew his support for Donald Trump on Saturday in the wake of sexually explicit comments by the GOP presidential nominee that surfaced Friday.

McCain, a leading Republican voice on Capitol Hill, was the party's 2008 presidential nominee. He also cited Trump's controversial remarks earlier in the week about the "Central Park 5" — saying he believed they were still guilty in a 1989 rape despite being exonerated years ago — in making his decision.

"Donald Trump's behavior this week, concluding with the disclosure of his demeaning comments about women and his boasts about sexual assaults, make it impossible to continue to offer even conditional support for his candidacy. Cindy, with her strong background in human rights and respect for women fully agrees with me in this," McCain said. "Cindy and I will not vote for Donald Trump. I have never voted for a Democratic presidential candidate and we will not vote for Hillary Clinton. We will write in the name of some good conservative Republican who is qualified to be president."

In July 2015, early in his presidential bid, Trump mocked McCain's five-and-a-half years as a prison-of-war in Vietnam, saying, "I like people that weren't captured."

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called Donald Trump's crude remarks about women "disgusting on a human level" in a phone interview on NY1 Saturday. The governor said it's about values, not politics, about what's decent and indecent. He said he applauds those Republicans who put their values ahead of their party loyalty by withdrawing their support of the presidential candidate.

Democratic Mayor Bill De Blasio in a statement said people must not forget Trump's "hate and misogyny."

Carly Fiorina, former GOP presidential and vice presidential hopeful, disavowed Trump's actions, saying he "does not represent me or my party" and that Trump has "manifestly" failed to live up to his responsibilities carrying the GOP's mantle. She wrote on her Facebook page that Trump should "step aside and for the RNC to replace him with Gov. Mike Pence."

Trump was scheduled to attend an event with House Speaker Paul Ryan Saturday, but Ryan said Friday night he was "sickened" by Trump's comments and that the candidate would no longer appear with him.

The third-most powerful Senate Republican, John Thune, a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's inner circle, called on Trump to "withdraw" and let Pence top the Republican ticket just a month from Election Day. Arizona Sen. John McCain announced he won't vote for Trump.

Vice President Joe Biden condemned Trump, tweeting, "The words are demeaning. Such behavior is an abuse of power. It's not lewd. It's sexual assault."

On the other hand, Gov. Chris Christie  has stayed mum about the leaked tape. He didn't respond to reporters' questions as he entered Trump Tower in Manhattan over Donald Trump's sexually charged comments made in 2005 that were caught on tape. Christie heads Trump's White House transition team.

Some GOP donors have called Republican fundraising chief Spencer Zwick, who told the Associated Press the donors "want help putting money together to fund a new person to be the GOP nominee."

Zwick leads fundraising efforts for House Speaker Paul Ryan, and he did the same for Mitt Romney in 2012. He told the AP that a write-in campaign relying on social media could "actually work."

There's never been a winning write-in campaign in a U.S. presidential contest. Many states do not allow write-in candidates for president, while others require them to register. Early voting is also already underway in several states.

Zwick did not identify which "new person" might be the focus of a write-in campaign. He was briefly supportive of a third run for Romney last year.