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Kentucky Republicans Criticize Trump But Stop Short Of Withdrawing Support

Donald Trump
Trump campaign
Donald Trump

Editor's note: This post contains language that is crude and explicit and that many will find offensive.

Over the weekend, Kentucky politicians joined the dog pile on Donald Trump after revelations that he bragged about being able to sexually harass and grope women because of his fame, in a conversation with entertainment reporter Billy Bush in 2005.

“I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait," Trump said in the recorded conversation, released by The Washington Post. “I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

“Grab ’em by the pussy,” Trump said. “You can do anything.”

Though top Republicans across the country like Arizona Sen. John McCain and Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz said they would no longer vote for the New York businessman in the upcoming presidential election, Kentucky’s top Republicans have condemned the comments but haven’t withdrawn endorsements.

Gov. Matt Bevin has remained silent on the issue.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell denounced Trump’s comments calling them “repugnant, and unacceptable in any circumstance.”

“As the father of three daughters, I strongly believe that Trump needs to apologize directly to women and girls everywhere, and take full responsibility for the utter lack of respect for women shown in his comments on that tape,” McConnell said in a statement.

Republican Sen. Rand Paul said the comments “are offensive and unacceptable” but did not say whether he still supported Trump’s candidacy. Before he dropped out of the presidential race earlier this year, Paul repeatedly locked horns with Trump and his endorsements of the candidate have always been lukewarm at best.

Paul’s Democratic challenger for his Senate seat, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, called on Paul to withdraw his endorsement of Trump.

“Republicans all across the country are calling on Donald Trump to drop out of the race. But not Rand Paul,” Gray said. “Kentucky deserves better than this.”

A growing number of high profile Republicans, including former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, have called on Trump to drop out.

The Kentucky Republican Party issued a statement Friday night, saying that "The comments released today from Donald Trump were totally inappropriate and unacceptable.”

Trump has vowed to “never withdraw” from the race. He issued a video apology Friday night.

“I’ve never said I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone that I’m not,” Trump said. “I’ve said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more than a decade-old video are one of them.”

With a month left before Election Day, it’s unlikely Trump’s name would be able to be removed from ballots in Kentucky.

Trump will participate in a 90-minute town hall debate with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton Sunday night.

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