MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin state Senate’s top Republican said Tuesday that Donald Trump’s predatory remarks about women are disgusting but he still supports the GOP’s billionaire presidential nominee because he’s a better choice than Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau told an audience at a downtown Madison luncheon that he found Trump’s remarks “ridiculous and disgusting and embarrassing.” He said he never thought the campaign would get as dirty and nasty as it has become but people still support Donald Trump.
“It’s about Hillary Clinton,” he explained to reporters after the luncheon. “She just isn’t trustworthy. If she’s elected president, it’s going to be a very difficult period of time for America, for her to try and bring people together. Nobody trusts her.”
He added that he wished Trump wasn’t attacking top Republicans for withdrawing their support but he isn’t surprised. Trump unleashed a barrage of Twitter attacks Tuesday aimed at Republicans who have abandoned him since the remarks became public. One of Trump’s main targets was House Speaker Paul Ryan, whom he branded weak and ineffective.
“It’s typical whenever anyone goes after Trump he lashes out at them,” Fitzgerald said.
He told the audience that he didn’t believe fallout from Trump’s remarks would hurt Republican state Senate candidates down-ticket. The top of the ticket doesn’t always affect other candidates as much as some think, he said. But he said he’d be watching internal GOP polls to see if Trump has started to flounder in GOP Senate districts and would “adjust” from there.
Fitzgerald added he doesn’t buy into the notion that the Republican Party is collapsing, noting that while gridlock has consumed Congress Republican-controlled legislatures in the states are getting things done.
Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, a La Crosse Democrat, appeared alongside Fitzgerald at the luncheon. She said Democrats are more excited about Clinton’s chances than ever.
“We have seen some really amazing, disturbing, troubling and just downright unfit for presidential office behavior from the Republican nominee,” she said. “There is no telling the amount of damage that Hurricane Donald is going to be doing to Wisconsin and to this country on Nov. 8. We are really excited about the position we find ourselves in.”
The Washington Post released a tape Friday of Trump making crude remarks about women in 2005, including statements that he could grab women’s genitals without permission because he was famous. Trump has apologized but at the same time dismissed his comments as “locker room talk.”
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