Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has apologized for vulgar language he used about women in a 2005 video. Members of the Republican Party are now distancing themselves from their candidate.
Trump apologized early Saturday for lewd language he used about groping and kissing women in a 2005 video. The release of the footage has rocked his campaign and drawn condemnation from members of his own political party.
"I've said and done things I regret," Trump said in a video statement posted to Twitter. "Anyone who knows me knows these words don't reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize."
Fellow Republicans have denounced the candidate's language. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, the party's top Republican elected official, said he was "sickened" by the comments and cancelled a campaign event in Wisconsin with Trump on Saturday.
Reince Preibus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, said: "No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever."
The two previous Republican presidential nominees also condemned Trump's comments. The 2012 candidate Mitt Romney tweeted that they "corrupt America's face to world," while the 2008 nominee Senator John McCain said, "There are no excuses for Donald Trump's offensive and demeaning comments."
Calls within GOP for Trump's resignation
Key figures within the Republican party have gone as far as calling for Trump to drop out of the presidential race altogether.
The Republican Senator for Utah, Mike Lee, called Trump a "distraction," and urged him to "Step down, allow someone else to carry the banner of these principles... rather than weighing down the American people."
Meanwhile, the Republican Representative for Utah, Jason Chaffetz, told CNN that he was retracting his endorsement because he would not be able to look his 15-year-old daughter in the eye if he voted for Trump.
Barbara Comstock, the GOP Representative for Virginia, said "this type of obscene behavior is unbecoming of anybody seeking high office" and that "Trump should step aside and allow our party to replace him with Mike Pence or another appropriate nominee from the Republican Party."
The statement amounts to the first full public apology that Trump has made during the presidential campaign, which has been laced with insults and rhetoric. In the 2005 video, the billionaire real estate mogul turned reality TV star is heard using predatory language as he describes hitting on a married woman and grabbing women's crotches.
"When you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything," he says in the video.
The damning video was posted Friday by "The Washington Post" newspaper and television broadcaster NBC News. In the video, Trump brags about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women who were not his wife.
In a brief written statement released prior to his video apology, Trump had attempted to shrug off the leaked tape as "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," he had written, though it failed to contain the media conflagration that followed.
The footage taped by the "Access Hollywood" television program was recorded during a bus ride while Trump was on his way to tape an episode of the soap opera "Days of Our Lives."
jar,dm/jlw (AP, AFP)