Donald Trump campaign fears 'more tapes to come' as sexism scandal overshadows second debate

'They have more things and they will drip them out'

Adam Withnall@adamwithnall
Sunday 09 October 2016 11:50
More Donald Trump tapes surface with crude sex remarks

Donald Trump’s campaign team is reportedly bracing itself for more hugely embarrassing revelations as condemnation of the billionaire's leaked sexually aggressive comments intensified.

Dozens of senior Republicans, including John McCain and Condoleeza Rice, have denounced their party’s candidate over the scandal, and the issue is set to dominate the billionaire’s second live TV debate against Hillary Clinton on Sunday night.

Now, Hillary Clinton's running mate, Tim Kaine, says the words reveal a "pattern of sexual assault" by the Republican presidential nominee.

After recording a scripted apology for the sexist comments, made to Access Hollywood anchor Billy Bush 11 years ago, Mr Trump is understood to be keeping a low profile in Trump Towers, ostensibly in order to prepare for tonight’s head-to-head.

But speaking to Fox News host Ed Henry, key Trump adviser Dr Ben Carson said the campaign team believed there were “more bombshells” to come.

Henry said Dr Carson told him Mr Trump was “staying in” after the Washington Post released the audio on Friday.

And he tweeted: “[Carson] told me he and [Trump] talked about more revelations coming: ‘They have more things and they will drip them out’.”

The Trump campaign appears to have reason to be concerned. Late on Saturday night, a producer on Mr Trump’s reality TV series The Apprentice said Friday’s tapes were “just the beginning”.

He suggested there was evidence Mr Trump had made “far worse” comments than those currently causing outrage, which include the candidate suggesting he could assault women by “grabbing them by the p***y” because he was famous.

Bill Pruitt wrote: “As a producer on seasons 1 and 2 of [The Apprentice] I assure you: when it comes to the #trumptapes there are far worse. #justthebegininng [sic].”

And separately, Washington-based political correspondent Guy Benson wrote in that a right-leaning Trump opponent told him there were “at least two more mega bombs” to come from Mr Trump’s past.

Friday’s revelations have already brought condemnation from Mr Trump’s closest allies - even his own wife, Melania Trump, issued a statement saying the comments were “unacceptable and offensive to me”, though suggesting the public “accept his apology, as I have, and focus on the important issues”.

Mr Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, cancelled all campaign engagements for 48 hours and said he was “beside himself” after discovering the news, a source told The Associated Press.

In an extraordinary rebuke, Mr Pence declared he could neither condone nor defend the remarks.

"We pray for his family," he said in a statement after cancelling a Wisconsin appearance scheduled with House Speaker Paul Ryan and the Republican National Committee chairman, Reince Priebus, both of whom condemned Mr Trump's remarks but stopped short of withdrawing support altogether.

Among the Republicans who did so were Ohio senator Rob Portman, New Hampshire senator Kelly Ayotte, and the party's 2008 nominee, Arizona senator John McCain, who had stood by Mr Trump even after the billionaire questioned whether the former POW should be considered a war hero because he got "captured".

Mr McCain, who is also facing a re-election challenge in November, said Mr Trump's behaviour made it "impossible to continue to offer even conditional support for his candidacy".

Tim Kaine said: "It is much more than words."

The Virginia senator made the comments Sunday morning on CNN's "State of the Union."

Kaine noted that Trump has previously made disparaging remarks about women. He said, "There's kind of a piece of the jigsaw puzzle missing in Donald Trump where he does not look at women and consider them as equal to himself."

On Sunday, Mr Trump issued a series of defiant tweets in which he seemingly branded those who had criticised him "self-righteous" hypocrites.

The row started with the release of a 2005 video, obtained by the Washington Post, where Mr Trump is heard describing attempts to have sex with a married woman. He also brags about women letting him kiss them and grab them because he is famous.

"When you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything," Mr Trump said in the video. He added seconds later: "Grab them by the p***y. You can do anything." He said of his impulse to kiss beautiful women: "I don't even wait.”

Republican leaders have scheduled a conference call for House GOP politicians, who are out of town for Congress' election recess. Such calls are rare and usually only held to discuss important matters.

Donald Trump caught on tape talking about sexually assaulting women: "Grab 'em by the pussy"

While it is too late to withdraw support for Mr Trump altogether and it is still publicly behind the party’s candidate, the Republican National Committee (RNC) is reportedly considering how to move forward.

Among its options, if it feels the cause is lost with Mr Trump, is to redirect all its funding and manpower to helping vulnerable Republican candidates for the Senate and House.

The move would leave Mr Trump with virtually no political infrastructure in swing states to identify his supporters and ensure they vote.

"We are working to evaluate the appropriate messaging going forward," said RNC chief strategist Sean Spicer.

All eyes turn now to Sunday night’s debate, where Mr Trump is sure to be challenged on the historic comments and his views of women.

The candidate has previously said he will not stoop to bringing up the sex scandal that marred Bill Clinton’s own presidency, when he debates Ms Clinton. It remains to be seen whether that promise holds.

And the backlash over the recording has almost completely overshadowed the release of hacked emails from inside the Clinton campaign that revealed the contents of some of her previously secret paid speeches to Wall Street.

The Democratic nominee told bankers behind closed doors that she favoured "open trade and open borders" and said Wall Street executives were best-positioned to help overhaul the US financial sector. Such comments were distinctively at odds with her tough talk about trade and Wall Street during the primary campaign.

Additional reporting by agencies

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