PIERRE, S.D. — Top South Dakota Republicans on Saturday called for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump to abandon his campaign after the release of newly revealed audio of him making lewd and sexually charged comments.
John Thune, the Senate’s third-ranking Republican and a safe bet for election to a third term in conservative South Dakota, tweeted Saturday that Trump’s running mate Mike Pence should immediately take the spot at the top of the Republican ticket.
GOP Gov. Dennis Daugaard tweeted that the election is “too important” and that Trump should withdraw in favor of Pence. “Enough is enough,” he wrote.
Lt. Gov. Matt Michels echoed those comments, tweeting that Trump must step aside “for our party and country.”
Trump’s campaign is reeling from a 2005 recording first reported by The Washington Post and NBC News in which Trump speaks in vulgar terms about women and his aggressive behavior toward them. Trump has apologized and vowed to stay in the race.
In the video, Trump is heard describing his attempts to have sex with a married woman. He also brags about women letting him kiss and fondle them because he is famous.
Other key South Dakota Republicans haven’t called for Trump to abandon his bid for the White House.
Rep. Kristi Noem, South Dakota’s lone U.S. House member, tweeted that Trump’s comments are “repulsive” but she didn’t call for him to be replaced. A spokeswoman for the Republican lawmaker didn’t immediately respond to an email requesting comment.
Noem’s opponent, Democrat Paula Hawks, issued a statement urging Noem to reject Trump.
Natalie Krings, a spokeswoman for South Dakota’s other U.S. senator, Republican Mike Rounds, said in a statement that Trump’s comments are deplorable and indefensible. She said Rounds agrees with the nominee’s goal of making America great again, but will make it clear when he disagrees with Trump.
“This is clearly a situation in which Sen. Rounds disagrees with the comments Mr. Trump made,” she said.