Trump apologizes, cancels Wisconsin visit amid outcry over lewd tape

FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2006, file photo, Donald Trump and wife Melania attend the Second Annual Quill Awards at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. (AP Photo/Stephen Chernin, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2006, file photo, Donald Trump and wife Melania attend the Second Annual Quill Awards at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. (AP Photo/Stephen Chernin, File)

WARNING: This story contains graphic language.

WASHINGTON (CNN/AP)  – Donald Trump is apologizing for vulgar and profane comments he made about women more than a decade ago, saying they “don’t reflect” the man he is today. He says, “I was wrong and I apologize.”

Trump’s campaign released the one-and-a-half-minute video on the GOP nominee’s social media accounts very late Friday night.

The video apology came hours after The Washington Post and NBC News posted a video from 2005 in which the Republican nominee brags about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women who were not his wife.

Trump says, “I’ve said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more than a decade-old video are one of them.”

Trump canceled his campaign appearance in Wisconsin Saturday amid an outcry over a lewd recording.

His wife, Melania Trump, released a statement on Saturday saying, “The words my husband used are unacceptable and offensive to me. This does not represent the man that I know. 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.”

A statement from the Trump campaign Friday evening said he will stay in New York to practice for his debate against Democrat Hillary Clinton on Sunday. Vice-presidential nominee Gov. Mike Pence was expected to attend the Elkhorn event in Trump’s place, but Pence later said he would not attend.

In a statement late Friday, House Speaker Paul Ryan affirmed Trump will no longer be attending an annual fall festival in Elkhorn, which is in the House Speaker’s congressional district. The all-GOP event in Ryan’s home state had been planned with Trump, Ryan, Gov. Scott Walker, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, and the head of the Republican Party, Reince Priebus.

Kelly O’Donnell of NBC News cites sources saying it was a joint decision by Ryan and Walker to withdraw Trump’s invitation, while Priebus and others argued against it “for the sake of party unity” — even though the GOP chairman was among the first Republican leaders to condemn the crude comments, saying in a statement that “No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever.”

Priebus has been a champion of the billionaire businessman’s campaign since he won the party’s nomination, going so far as to suggest the party would look into penalizing other Republican presidential candidates who didn’t fall in line behind the nominee.

Ryan says he is “sickened” by Trump’s crude comments about women, and is calling on the Republican presidential nominee to show greater respect for women.

Ryan, who has had a rocky relationship with Trump, says women are to be championed and revered. He adds that he hopes Trump will treat the fallout with the seriousness it deserves.

I am sickened by what I heard today. Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified. I hope Mr. Trump treats this situation with the seriousness it deserves and works to demonstrate to the country that he has greater respect for women than this clip suggests. In the meantime, he is no longer attending tomorrow’s event in Wisconsin.” – Statement from Speaker Paul Ryan

Gov. Walker described the comments with one word: “Inexcusable.”

In the 2005 recording, Trump is heard discussing women in vulgar terms during off-camera banter during the taping of a segment for “Access Hollywood,” footage which was obtained by The Washington Post.

Trump bragged about trying to have sex with a married woman and being able to grope women. The previously unaired footage surfaced on Friday.

During the lewd conversation captured by a microphone Trump was wearing on his lapel, Trump recounts how he tried to “f–k” an unidentified married woman before bragging that he is “automatically attracted to beautiful (women)” and just starts “kissing them.”

The conversation came just months after Trump married his third and current wife, Melania.

He also said: “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the p—y. You can do anything.”

The jaw-dropping description of uninhibited sexual assault as a benefit of his celebrity poses a substantial setback to Trump’s attempts to overcome his deficit with female voters with just a month until Election Day. Hillary Clinton and her campaign have repeatedly sought to portray Trump as disrespectful and demeaning toward women, bringing up a slew of rude and vulgar comments Trump has made about women during and before his run for president.

“This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course – not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended,” Trump said in a statement released Friday.

Clinton’s campaign tweeted a link to the story and said simply, “This is horrific. We cannot allow this man to become president.”

A close adviser to Trump told CNN the story is “flat out appalling” and at this point, they can’t even begin to guess whether Trump can come back from this.
“This should have never happened. I wish it had never happened. I think I know that men talk this way sometimes, but it’s nothing I would ever want to hear or condone or approve of,” the adviser said. “My reaction is — it’s appalling. It’s just flat out appalling.”
The adviser also said Trump’s apology does not go far enough.
“Doing anything other than to say it was a grievous error and he apologizes would be a mistake,” the adviser said. “I would take it a step further and own to the words as being offensive — not ‘if.'”
A New York Times correspondent says U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson gave this comment, “Donald Trump’s recent comments are completely indefensible and I refuse to even attempt to try and do so.”
Congressman Reid Ribble, a critic of Trump, suggested he get out of the race.

On Twitter, Wisconsin Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, a Republican from Kaukauna, called Trump’s comments, “Inexcusable. Disgusting. Women deserve better. We all do.”

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is dealing with her own October surprise. Excerpts from closed-door speeches that Hillary Clinton gave to Wall Street executives two years ago have been leaked.

The excerpts include Clinton suggesting that Wall Street insiders are best equipped to help reform the financial sector. She also conceded that she is feeling out of touch with the middle-class, and that presidential candidates for either party must have tens of millions in contributions from New York to mount a competitive national campaign.

The WikiLeaks organization posted Friday what it said were thousands of emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. It was unclear whether Podesta’s personal email accounts had been hacked or whether the emails had been included in successful hacking attacks, blamed on Russia, against prominent Democratic organizations.

Clinton’s primary opponent Bernie Sanders had called on the now Democratic presidential nominee to release transcripts of her paid speeches. Clinton refused.

Clinton’s campaign is calling on rival Donald Trump to condemn Russia for the hacking of political sites in the United States and disclose all his ties to the country.

The U.S. on Friday formally accused Moscow of trying to interfere with the upcoming election by hacking the Democratic National Committee and other email accounts.

Russia has dismissed the accusation.

Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine says Republican officials who support Donald Trump ought to be asked if they still do. He’s telling Democratic volunteers in Phoenix that the numerous controversies that sprang up Friday should require GOP leaders to say whether they still believe Trump is qualified to be president.

Kaine is also slamming Trump’s unsubstantiated suggestion that immigrants are being allowed illegally into the country to vote, and Trump’s argument that the “Central Park Five” were guilty of rape despite being exonerated by DNA.

Kaine says those claims also require Republicans to explain any continued support of their party’s nominee.