Melania Trump releases statement: "The words my husband used are unacceptable"

WASHINGTON — The Latest on the presidential campaign a day before the second presidential debate between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump (all times EDT):

3:06 p.m.

Melania Trump is coming to her husband's defense, saying the vile words he spoke in an uncovered video do "not represent the man that I know."

Mrs. Trump says in rare public statement that the words her husband used in the 2005 footage released Friday "are unacceptable and offensive to me."

She added that the words do "not represent the man that I know," adding, "He has the heart and mind of a leader."

Trump was newly married when he bragged on tape about trying to have sex with married women and groping others without permission.

Mrs. Trump says she "hopes people will accept his apology, as I have, and focus on the important issues facing our nation and the world."


3:00 p.m.

Republicans are increasingly calling for Donald Trump to drop his presidential bid over his aggressive conduct toward women.

Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan's reasoning is typical. He says in a tweet and a statement: "I'm calling on Trump to step aside for Gov. Pence. Trump can't lead on critical issue of ending dom(estic) violence & sexual assault."

Trump has apologized and has refused to quit the race.

Others dropping their support for Trump include Reps. Rodney Davis of Illinois, Ann Wagner of Missouri and Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska.


2:44 p.m.

Hillary Clinton has taken nearly every precaution to ensure that the public would never know what she told corporate executives in dozens of closed-door speeches she gave before running for president.

The Democratic presidential candidate has had good reason to be worried.

The private comments struck a tone starkly at odds with the fiery, populist message she's pushed throughout her campaign. Some of her remarks give fresh fuel to liberals' worst fears about Clinton: That she is a political moderate, comfortable cutting back-room deals.

A Friday hack of her campaign chairman's personal email account exposed an internal review conducted by campaign aides to survey the political damage some of her remarks could cause if made public.

Clinton's campaign has refused to confirm or deny the veracity of the emails posted by WikiLeaks.


2:24 p.m.

Donald Trump is huddling with a close circle of advisers in New York, a day after damaging revelations about his comments about women.

Most of his campaign staff and network of supporters were left in the dark about the fast-moving developments.

A person close to the Trump operation who spoke on condition of anonymity said staff calls were canceled and surrogates were not given guidance on how to respond to the controversy. The person insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss internal campaign dynamics publicly.

The campaign was 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 since apologized and vowed to stay in the race. But a growing list of Republican officeholders is calling on him to quit the race.

The upheaval comes on the eve of the second debate between Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton — and less than five weeks before Election Day.

— By Julie Pace.


2:13 p.m.

Ben Carson is sticking by Donald Trump.

Trump's former GOP rival and current adviser says he "in no way" condones Trump's behavior in an extremely lewd video released Friday. Carson called Trump's vulgar comments about women "unacceptable, especially by someone who aspires to higher office."

But he says Trump "did the right thing in immediately and unequivocally apologizing." Carson blames Trump's adversaries for the video's release.

Carson says "progressives" are trying to distract from the issues and damaging excerpts from Hillary Clinton's paid speeches, also released Friday.


1:41 p.m.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich says he definitely will not support Donald Trump.

The Republican governor and former Trump rival did not oppose his party's nominee during the primary campaign but stopped short of a formal endorsement. He said Saturday Trump "is a man I cannot and should not support."

Kasich called Trump's comments captured in a video "disgusting." But he says that's not why he reached his decision.

He said, "I will not vote for a nominee who has behaved in a manner that reflects so poorly on our country."

Kasich becomes the second sitting Republican governor to withdraw support for Trump. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert did the same on Friday.


1:40 p.m.

Nevada Republican congressman Joe Heck is calling on Donald Trump to quit the presidential race.

The Senate candidate says the "only option is to formally ask Mr. Trump to stand down and to allow Republicans the opportunity to elect someone who will provide us with the strong leadership so desperately needed and one that Americans deserve."


1:35 p.m.

South Dakota Republican Sen. John Thune is calling for Donald Trump to leave the presidential race.

The third-ranking Senate Republican tweeted Saturday that vice presidential candidate Mike Pence should take the spot at the top of the Republican ticket "effective immediately."

Thune joins other Republicans senators in calling for Trump to drop out.

South Dakota Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard also tweeted Saturday that the election is "too important," and that Trump should withdraw in favor of Pence.

Trump apologized via video on Friday for the vulgar and sexually charged comments.


1:30 p.m.

U.S. Rep. Mia Love of Utah is joining a growing list of Republicans calling on Donald Trump to drop out of the race for president after the a tape of him surfaced making crude comments about women.

Love said Saturday in a statement that Trump's "behavior and bravado have reached a new low."

She said in a statement that she "cannot vote for him," adding that "For the good of the party, and the country, he should step aside."

Love said she won't vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton either.


12:57 p.m.

Republican Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence says he cannot condone or defend Donald Trump's comments about women.

Pence says in a statement Saturday: "As a husband and a father, I was offended by the words and actions described by Donald Trump in the 11-year-old video released yesterday. I do not condone his remarks and cannot defend them. I am grateful that he has expressed remorse and apologized to the American people."

He continues: "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."


12:37 p.m.

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence will not attend a scheduled campaign rally in Wisconsin with House Speaker Paul Ryan.

That's according to a GOP official with knowledge of Pence's plans who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release such details.

Trump and Pence were both scheduled to attend Saturday's event, but Trump bailed out late Friday as bipartisan condemnation rained down on him over his recorded vulgarities toward women.

It was unclear whether Pence would attend a private fundraiser in Rhode Island later Saturday.

Pence has been silent on the release of the 12-year-old recording, in which Trump describes his own aggressive treatment of women.

—By Thomas Beaumont.


12:36 p.m.

Rep. Bradley Byrne is calling on Donald Trump to quit his presidential campaign.

The Alabama Republican says Trump's recorded lewd comments about women are "appalling." Byrne adds that "Trump is not fit to be president of the United States and cannot defeat Hillary Clinton."

Byrne says Trump should step aside and let his running mate, Mike Pence, lead the Republican ticket for the four weeks left until Election Day.


12:26 p.m.

New Jersey Republican Rep. Scott Garrett says Donald Trump's running mate Mike Pence would be "the best nominee for the Republican Party to defeat Hillary Clinton."

Garrett did not explicitly call on Trump to quit the race following the release of old video footage that features Trump making highly sexualized comments.

But Garrett says in a statement that Trump's comments "are inexcusable."

Garrett is in a tight race to keep his seat against former Clinton White House speechwriter Josh Gottheimer.


11:50 a.m.

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte says she is dropping her support for Donald Trump and plans to write in vice presidential running mate Mike Pence's name for president.

Ayotte says in statement that she cannot support a presidential candidate "who brags about degrading and assaulting women."

Ayotte is in one of the nation's closest Senate contests. Her opponent, Gov. Maggie Hassan, has tied her to Trump at event turn.

Ayotte's been widely panned for her dance around Trump. She'd said she would support but not endorse him and recently backed off comments that Trump is a role model.


11:46 a.m.

Donald Trump says he will not quit the presidential race.

The Republican presidential nominee told The Washington Post on Saturday morning, "I'd never withdraw. I've never withdrawn in my life."

He also told The Wall Street Journal there was "zero chance I'll quit."

The comments come as a growing number of Republican officeholders call on Trump to leave the race.

Trump said he's been getting calls of support after a video tape surfaced Friday that captured him making vulgar and sexually charged comments about women.


11:35 a.m.

Carly Fiorina says Donald Trump should step aside as the Republican presidential nominee.

The former GOP contender says, Trump "does not represent me or my party" and says Trump has "manifestly" failed to live up to his responsibilities carrying the GOP's mantle.

She wrote on her Facebook page that Trump should "step aside and for the RNC to replace him with Gov. Mike Pence."


11:23 a.m.

Republican Mike Crapo of Idaho is the latest senator to call for Donald Trump to step down.

Crapo released a statement Saturday morning that says "this is not a decision that I have reached lightly, but his pattern of behavior left me no choice."

Sen. Mike Lee of Utah also has called for Trump to quit the race, as has a growing list of House members and other elected officials.

Crapo said he's spent years working on domestic violence issues. He said that Trump's lewd tape released Friday was far from the "locker room" banter that the campaign initially described.


11:00 a.m.

Donald Trump is trying his hand at understatement on arguably the most difficult day of his presidential candidacy.

He tweets just before 11 a.m.: "Certainly has been an interesting 24 hours!"

It was his first comment since releasing a video in which he apologized for his lewd comments unearthed in a 2005 video. The tweet comes amid nearly universal condemnation of those remarks, in which Trump was caught in an off-camera conversation speaking in vulgar terms about women.

Some Republican members of Congress are calling for him to withdraw from the race as the GOP struggles to keep its congressional majority.

It's unclear whether Trump will make any public appearances before Sunday's second debate with Clinton in St. Louis. Trump is not attending a previously scheduled event Saturday in Wisconsin with running mate Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan.


Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock is calling on Donald Trump to abandon his presidential bid, saying she can't vote for him in "good conscience."

The first-term congresswoman of a moderate district in Northern Virginia says on Twitter that Trump should allow the GOP to replace him on the ticket. Comstock's comments come after the leak of a 2005 video in which Trump makes crass comments about women.

Comstock is seeking re-election in Virginia's most closely watched congressional race. She represents the 10th District, which stretches from the wealthy McLean suburbs inside the Capital Beltway out to more rural areas.

Comstock has long been critical of Trump and has repeatedly tried to distance herself from him throughout her campaign.


10:51 a.m.

Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges says there will be no punishment for state GOP officials who drop their support of Donald Trump over his crude comments about women.

Asked whether the revelations were a fatal blow to Trump's electoral prospects, Borges said, "The debate tomorrow is now everything."

Borges was a supporter of Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the primary but has helped Trump during the general election.

Borges would not say whether he plans to drop his support for the nominee. But he said his "wife looks like the smartest person in America right now. She wouldn't let me put a Donald Trump sign in my yard."

Ohio is a must-win state for Trump in the November election.


10:30 a.m.

A conservative Alabama congresswoman says she will not vote for Donald Trump for president and wants him to step down as GOP nominee.

Republican Martha Roby says Trump's newly disclosed comments about women and how he treats them make him "unacceptable" for the office.

Roby was elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010 that flipped House control to the Republicans. She represents an overwhelmingly Republican state where Trump won an easy primary victory March 1 and where he remains popular.

She says in a statement that she previously tolerated Trump's "antics" because she wanted to support the party and its nominee. Now, she says Trump should "step aside and allow a responsible, respectable Republican to lead the ticket."


10:20 a.m.

Republican fundraising chief Spencer Zwick says he's been fielding calls from donors who "want help putting money together to fund a new person to be the GOP nominee."

Zwick leads fundraising efforts for House Speaker Paul Ryan, and he did the same for Mitt Romney in 2012. He tells The Associated Press that a write-in campaign relying on social media could "actually work."

There's never been a winning write-in campaign in a U.S. presidential contest. Many states do not allow write-in candidates for president, while others require them to register. Early voting is also already underway in several states.

Zwick did not identify which "new person" might be the focus of a write-in campaign. He was briefly supportive of a third run for Romney last year.