House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, the most senior elected Republican official, has said he will not defend Donald Trump, after remarks he made about groping women led to outrage.
Paul Ryan vowed to focus on defending seats in Congress, but did not end his endorsement of the Republican Party’s nominee.
Donald Trump tweeted that Paul Ryan should not waste his time fighting him.
Earlier Hillary Clinton cast doubt on Donald Trump’s apology for the remarks, made 11 years ago.
On October 9, Donald Trump described his words as “locker-room talk”.
In a bitter TV debate, a month before the presidential election, Donald Trump denied he had groped anyone.
Hillary Clinton tweeted on October 10 that, if Donald Trump stood by this assertion, he was “clearly not sorry”.
Meanwhile Donald Trump’s running mate Mike Pence said he would stand by him despite an outcry over the remarks.
A 2005 video released on October 7 revealed Donald Trump describing how he had sought to have s** with a married woman and making inappropriate comments about women.
Asked about the video in the debate, Donald Trump turned his fire on Hillary Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, whom he described as “abusive to women”.
Hillary Clinton refused to address the comments.
At least 38 senior Republicans – including senators, members of Congress, and state governors – have withdrawn their support for Donald Trump since the video surfaced.
According to sources familiar with a conference call he held with congress members on October 10, Paul Ryan appeared to have accepted that Hillary Clinton would win the White House and wanted to make sure Republicans in Congress were strong enough to challenge her.
Paul Ryan said he would spend “his entire energy making sure that Hillary Clinton does not get a blank cheque with a Democrat-controlled Congress”, the source said.
“You all need to do what’s best for you in your district,” Paul Ryan was quoted as telling colleagues.
Donald Trump apologized for the remarks, and when pressed during the debate on whether he had engaged in s**ual misconduct, he denied doing so.
However, Hillary Clinton said his explanation that these were words not actions did not amount to an apology.
“If Trump stands by what he said about women as <<locker room talk>>, he’s clearly not sorry,” she tweeted.
Meanwhile Mike Pence praised Donald Trump’s honesty.
“I think last night he showed his heart to the American people. He said he apologized to his family, apologized to the American people, that he was embarrassed by it,” Mike Pence told CNN on October 10.
Earlier Mike Pence had described the remarks as indefensible.
The vice-presidential candidate said he was “honored to stand with” Donald Trump and denied he had considered withdrawing from the race.
When moderator Anderson Cooper asked about the video, Donald Trump denied ever assaulting women, dismissing the remarks as “just words”. Instead he focused on ex-President Bill Clinton’s indiscretions.
Hillary Clinton said the explosive video “represents exactly who he is”.
“With prior Republican nominees, I disagreed with them, but I never questioned their fitness to serve,” she said.
Donald Trump said if he won, he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton and she would be in prison over her private email arrangements.
“Everything he just said is absolutely false but I’m not surprised,” she responded.
“It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country.”
“Because you’d be in jail,” Donald Trump interrupted.
He also said Hillary Clinton “has tremendous hate in her heart” while criticizing her for referring to his supporters as “deplorables”.
Hillary Clinton said she apologized for the comment, adding: “My argument is not with his supporters, it’s with him, about the hateful and divisive campaign he has run.”
Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton also sparred on the conflict in Syria, Russian aggression, Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns and his plan for the “extreme vetting” of immigrants arriving from countries with links to terrorism.
The evening concluded when an audience member asked the candidates to say one positive thing about each other.
Hillary Clinton said his children were a great reflection of him while Donald Trump called his opponent “a fighter” who never gives up.
An hour before the debate began, Donald Trump appeared at a news conference with women who accused Bill Clinton of s**ual misconduct.
Donald Trump joined three women who allege Bill Clinton assaulted them and called the women “very courageous”.
Hillary Clinton also defended controversial remarks she made in a private speech that was made public in leaked emails on October 8.
The transcript revealed Hillary Clinton said a politician has a public and private position, but at the debate she said she had watched a film about Abraham Lincoln and was referring only to what he had done.