Trump says there is ‘zero chance’ he will quit over vulgar remarks

Arnold Schwarzenegger joins growing list of Republicans vowing now to not to vote for the candidate

Donald Trump has apologised for lewd comments he made when he boasted about trying to have sex with an unidentified married woman and groping women, saying "when you're a star, they let you do it." Video: REUTERS/ WASHINGTON POST

 

Donald Trump is defying growing calls from leading Republicans to withdraw from the presidential race in favour of his running mate, a day after a decade-old recording revealed him bragging in explicit terms about using his fame to grope and take advantage of women.

Trump issued a rare apology for the remarks on Friday and on Saturday was reported to be in crisis talks with close advisers in New York City. But in a call to the Washington Post he said: “I’d never withdraw. I’ve never withdrawn in my life. No, I’m not quitting this race. I have tremendous support.”

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, he said: “There is zero chance I’ll quit.” To the New York Times, he said his “tremendous support” meant he would win the presidency.

Shortly after CNN reported that in 2006 Trump told the radio host Howard Stern it was OK to call his daughter Ivanka “a piece of ass”, Trump tweeted: “The media and establishment want me out of the race so badly” and added in capitals: “I will never drop out of the race, will never let my supporters down.”

Against this backdrop, with just one month until election day and one day until the second presidential debate, a growing chorus of senior Republicans – if not party leadership – called for Trump to let his running mate take over.

Republicans have lined up to denounce their candidate in strong terms over his demeaning remarks about women, joining Mr Trump’s Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton in condemning him.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, former governor of California said: “For the first time since I became a citizen in 1983, I will not vote for the Republican candidate for president. Like many Americans, I’ve been conflicted by this election – I still haven’t made up my mind about how exactly I will vote next month … But as proud as I am to label myself a Republican, there is one label that I hold above all else – American. So I want to take a moment today to remind my fellow Republicans that it is not only acceptable to choose your country over your party – it is your duty.”

The businessman’s own vice-presidential pick, Mike Pence, on Saturday decried “the words and actions described by Donald Trump” in the video.

“I do not condone his remarks and cannot defend them. I am grateful that he has expressed remorse,” he added, before alluding to Sunday night’s presidential debate. “We pray for his family and look forward to the opportunity he has to show what is in his heart when he goes before the nation tomorrow night.”

In Utah, one of the most reliably conservative states, senior Republicans explicitly abandoned their endorsements of the candidate. Governor Gary Herbert and Jason Chaffetz, chair of the House committee investigating Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state, withdrew their support. Senator Mike Lee, representative Chris Stewart and former governor Jon Huntsman called on Trump to step aside and let Pence lead the ticket.

Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee who has never backed Trump, said: “Hitting on married women? Condoning assault? Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America’s face to the world.”