Branstad Standing By Trump

Oct 10, 2016

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is showing no sign of pulling his support from  Donald Trump. That's in spite of the fact that dozens of Republican governors, congressional representatives and senators have rescinded their endorsements of the GOP presidential nominee or said he should step down.

Many of these un-endorsements came Friday and Saturday, after a video tape from 2005 surfaced. On the recording Trump brags to Billy Bush, then a co-host for Access Hollywood, about being able to sexually assault women without consequence because he's famous.

Branstad was asked if these actions turned out to be true, whether it disqualifies Trump from being president. 

"I’m not going to speculate on that," says Branstad.  "The words were reprehensible. I find them to be very offensive. But he’s also apologized for it, and he’s said that he had not done this." 

The governor adds that he thinks it’s unfair former president Bill Clinton hasn’t received as much scrutiny as Trump, for allegedly assaulting women.

Many state representatives and senators around the country are also pulling their support of Trump, including Sen. Jack Whitver of Ankeny and Rep. Ken Rizer of Cedar Rapids.* In a Saturday Facebook post, Rizer wrote that, "Out of respect for women in my family and across America, I will be writing in Mike Pence."

Branstad didn't address the defections specifically, but says everyone is welcome in Iowa's Republican party. The governor also told reporters he’s proud of how the state's Republican leadership has stuck together.

"It’s important that we recognize that we’re part of a team, and that a lot is at stake in this election," says Branstad. "Energy security, better jobs, reducing the tax and regulator burden, as well as the international threat. I think that we all have a responsibility to focus on the things our constituents  care about." 

Branstad’s son Eric is the director of Trump’s Iowa campaign.

In a statement, Iowa Democratic Party Chair Andy McGuire says the governor glossed over the seriousness of Trump's clear pattern of harassing, objectifying and demeaning women.*

According to the latest Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll conducted by Ann Selzer, Trump current leads Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in Iowa by four points among likely voters. The poll was conducted before Friday, when news of the video tape broke. 

*This story has been updated.