Obama suggests Trump insecurity prompts insults

Donald Trump
Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump, speaks during the Values Voter Summit, held by the Family Research Council Action, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015, in Washington. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on the U.S. presidential race (all times EDT):

4:40 p.m.

President Barack Obama is suggesting that Donald Trump insults people because he’s “insecure.”

Without saying Trump’s name, he said there’s a reason why the Republican presidential candidate has denigrated veterans, people with disabilities, Mexicans and others during the 2016 campaign.

Obama said: “It tells you that he’s insecure enough that he pumps himself up by putting other people down.”

Obama was addressing supporters Sunday at a fundraiser in Chicago.

He said “the unbelievable rhetoric” from Trump has been “disturbing.”

“I don’t need to repeat it – there are children in the room,” he said to laughter.


12:40 p.m.

Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte says she favors Donald Trump dropping out of the presidential race.

The New Hampshire senator dropped her support for Trump on Saturday. She said she will write in Mike Pence, but initially stopped short of calling for Trump to step aside.

But when she was asked by a reporter Sunday if Trump stood step down, she said “I would support that.”

Ayotte said recently released recordings of Trump making vulgar remarks about women are “fundamentally different” than his past comments. She said Trump is advocating assault, and that she wants her young daughter to know that she does not support the comments.

She says speaking out for her daughter’s sake is “more important to me than winning any election.” Ayotte is in a close race for re-election.


11:30 a.m.

Democrats are discounting the idea that Republican leaders will encourage Donald Trump to step aside as their presidential nominee and urge voters to rally behind Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence.

Donna Brazile – interim head of the Democratic National Committee – notes that some states have begun early voting and mailed absentee ballots with Trump’s name on it. Brazile says attempts to change the ballots would be “very confusing” to voters.

She’s suggesting on ABC’s “This Week” that Democratic Party lawyers probably would fight any efforts by states to change the names on the ballot – if it came to that.


11:25 a.m.

The chairman of the House Ethics Committee says there’s still time for Republicans to rally behind an alternative to Donald Trump as their presidential nominee.

GOP Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania says he hopes House Speaker Paul Ryan and party chairman Reince Priebus (ryns PREE’-bus) will withdraw their endorsements of Trump.

Here’s what Dent tells ABC’s “This Week”: “As a party leader, I think at times you have to stand up and do some pretty difficult things and this may be one of them right now.”

Dent floated a few names, including Robert Gates, defense secretary under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama; Condoleezza (kahn-duh-LEE’-zuh) Rice, secretary of state under Bush; Ohio Gov. John Kasich (KAY’-sihk), who sought the GOP presidential nomination; or Mitch Daniel, a former Indiana governor.


11:15 a.m.

Trump on Sunday tweeted: “So many self-righteous hypocrites. Watch their poll numbers – and elections – go down!”

Trump has also been re-tweeting a series of messages from supporters, including one that lashes out at “GOP traitors!” and says not supporting is voting for “destroying America.”

Another says “‘Republican leadership’ should have only one job: Help elect the nominee we voted for, Donald J. Trump.”

Trump has faced a mass exodus of support in the wake of the release of crude video footage in which he brags about making unwanted sexual advances on women.


10:30 a.m.

Donald Trump backer Rudy Giuliani says Trump is embarrassed by the airing of a tape in which the Republican presidential nominee makes vulgar and predatory remarks about women.

But – in Giuliani’s words – “it seems to me, we should move on.”

The former New York City mayor tells ABC’s “This Week” that Trump is “very, very embarrassed and contrite about it.”

When asked whether Trump’s comments described sexual assault, Giuliani said “that’s what he’s talking about.” But Giuliani isn’t sure whether Trump was exaggerating, as “some men” do.


10:10 a.m.

A GOP senator says Republicans can’t win the White House with Donald Trump as their presidential nominee – and having him at the top of the ticket could drag down other Republicans.

Utah’s Mike Lee says Trump and his backers can cement a lasting legacy if he were to step aside, allowing Republicans to find a candidate who can bring together all elements within the party and defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Lee tells NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “we’ve got candidates who can do it. There’s still time to do it, but we have to actually do it.”

Lee is among a growing number of Republicans who’ve called for Trump to step aside following the release of a recording in which Trump makes crude comments about women.


9:35 a.m.

Hillary Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine says a recording that captured crude language from Donald Trump reveals “a pattern of sexual assault” by the Republican presidential nominee.

Kaine tells CNN’s “State of the Union” that it’s “much more than words.”

Kaine notes that Trump has previously made disparaging remarks about women.

Kaine says: “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.”