MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said he could no longer vote for Donald Trump in wake of the GOP presidential nominee’s sexually charged words about women.
Bentley comments came as state Alabama U.S. Reps. Martha Roby and Bradley Byrne, on Saturday called for Trump to step aside from the GOP ticket. Trump is under fire for his remarks about him groping women in a 2005 recording. Roby was one of the first Republicans to speak out against Trump on Saturday, leading what would soon be a chorus of voices against the GOP nominee.
“Now, it is abundantly clear that the best thing for our country and our party is for Trump to step aside and allow a responsible, respectable Republican to lead the ticket,” Roby said in a statement. “Hillary Clinton must not be president, but, with Trump leading the ticket she will be.”
Trump’s Alabama campaign chairman, Perry Hooper, Jr., said Saturday that he respectfully disagreed.
“The statements that Mr. Trump said in 2005 were inappropriate and Mr. Trump apologized. But Mr. Trump knows today that our country is a stake,” Hooper said.
Bentley withdrew his support for Trump after previously saying he would vote for him. The governor said Trump was not his first choice.
“I endorsed Gov. John Kasich for president, because I felt like he was the most qualified and the best person to lead our nation,” Bentley said in a statement. “I certainly won’t vote for Hillary Clinton, but I cannot and will not vote for Donald Trump.”
In a video, Trump apologized for his remarks saying he was wrong and had said foolish things, but words and actions are not the same thing. He called the comments a distraction and pointed to the behavior of Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton.
“I’d never withdraw,” Trump said in an interview with The Washington Post.
Roby said Trump’s behavior is unacceptable. She said the best thing for the country and party is for Trump to drop out.
Byrne called Trump’s comments appalling and says “it is clear he is not fit to be president of the United States.”