Republicans tell Trump to quit, billionaire vows to press on

NEW YORK — A defiant Donald Trump insisted Saturday he would "never" abandon his White House bid, rejecting a growing backlash from Republican leaders nationwide who disavowed the GOP's presidential nominee after he was caught on tape bragging about predatory advances on women.

Trump's own running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, declared he could neither condone nor defend Trump's remarks in a 2005 videotape that sparked panic inside Trump Tower and throughout the Republican Party with early voting already underway exactly one month before Election Day.

"We pray for his family," Pence said in a statement after canceling a Wisconsin appearance scheduled with House Speaker Paul Ryan and the Republican National Committee chairman, Reince Priebus, both of whom had condemned Trump's remarks the day before but stopped short of withdrawing support altogether.

The furor places enormous pressure on Trump to try to tamp down a crisis sure to spill into Sunday night's presidential debate.

But even as the fallout deepened fractures in a party already torn about Trump, many remained loyal to the political outsider. Wisconsin voter Jean Stanley donned a shirt proclaiming "Wisconsin Women Love Trump" and called Ryan a "traitor" for denouncing the presidential contender's comments.

"He's a real human," Stanley said of the New York businessman, surrounded by Trump supporters at the Wisconsin rally where he was set to appear before the videotape emerged.

Ryan and Priebus did not join a chorus of GOP officeholders from Utah to Alabama to New Hampshire who decided the former reality television star's bombshell was too much to take. More than a dozen Republicans — senators, congressmen and sitting governors — announced Saturday they would not vote for Trump.

Among them was the party's 2008 nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, who had stood by Trump even after the billionaire questioned whether the former POW should be considered a war hero because he got "captured."

"He was not my choice, but as a past nominee, I thought it important I respect the fact that Donald Trump won a majority of the delegates by the rules our party set," McCain said in a statement. But given Trump's "behavior this week," McCain said, it is "impossible to continue to offer even conditional support for his candidacy."

Many went farther and called on Trump to quit the race altogether.

"I thought supporting the nominee was the best thing for our country and our party," Alabama Rep. Martha Roby said in a statement. "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."

Republican leaders have scheduled a Monday morning conference call for House GOP lawmakers, who are out of town for Congress' election recess. The email obtained by The Associated Press doesn't specify the topic for the 11 a.m. EDT call, but rank-and-file lawmakers believe it's about Trump. Such calls are rare and usually held to discuss important matters.

His party in chaos, Trump spent Saturday with a close circle of advisers in his campaign's midtown Manhattan headquarters. Among them: former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who said calls for Trump to bow out are simply the "wishful thinking of the Clinton campaign and those people who have opposed him for a long time."

Most of Trump's staff and network of supporters were left in the dark about the fast-moving developments. Conference calls were canceled and prominent supporters were given no guidance about how to respond to the explosive development, according to a person close to the Trump operation. The person insisted on anonymity, lacking the authority to discuss internal campaign matters publicly.

Trump addressed the dire situation on Saturday with a light-hearted tweet: "Certainly has been an interesting 24 hours!"

He later tweeted he would not yield the GOP nomination under any circumstances: "The media and establishment want me out of the race so badly - I WILL NEVER DROP OUT OF THE RACE, WILL NEVER LET MY SUPPORTERS DOWN!"

The political firestorm was sparked by a 2005 video obtained and released Friday by The Washington Post and NBC News. In the video, Trump, who was married to his current wife at the time, is heard describing attempts to have sex with a married woman. He also brags about women letting him kiss them and grab their genitals because he is famous.

"When you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything," Trump says in the video. He adds seconds later: "Grab them by the p
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