WASHINGTON: US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has apologised after a leaked video from 2005 caught him passing crude remarks and bragging about groping women because of his fame.
Following the release of the recording, Trump initially said he was sorry “if anyone was offended” by the “locker room banter”.
However, after a backlash from his party colleagues, Trump issued a more forthright video apology in which he said: “I have said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more than a decade-old video are one of them.”
“Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong and I apologise. I pledge to be a better man tomorrow and will never, ever let you down,” Sky news quoted Trump as saying.
In the short but defiant address, Trump insisted that his lewd remarks captured on tape amounted to “nothing more than a distraction” and were not as shocking as former US President Bill Clinton’s extramarital affairs.
He posted a 90-second video on Facebook in response to a chorus of condemnation after he was recorded in a lewd conversation talking about trying to have sex with a married woman and saying that his celebrity status allowed him to “do anything” with women, the Irish Times reported.
In the tape, Trump, who was only recently married to Melania Trump at the time, says of an unknown woman, “I moved on her and I failed. I’ll admit it.”
The video, obtained and posted by the Washington Post late on Friday, threw Trump’s presidential campaign into a tailspin.
Republicans lined up to denounce their candidate in strong terms over his demeaning remarks about women, joining Trump’s Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton in condemning him.
Some Republicans called on him to end his presidential bid. The nominee refused to bow to the pressure and even used his responding video to turn his sights on his rival for the US presidency.
“This is horrific,” Clinton said on Twitter adding, “we cannot allow this man to become president.
She has said Trump has shown a lack of respect for women, noting during the first debate he insulted a former Miss Universe.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan, who had been scheduled to appear alongside Trump on Saturday for the first time in Wisconsin, condemned Trump in a statement late on Friday, the Politico reported.
“I am sickened by what I heard today (Friday). Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified,” Ryan said adding, “I hope Mr. Trump treats this situation with the seriousness it deserves and works to demonstrate to the country that he has greater respect for women than this clip suggests. In the meantime, he is no longer attending tomorrow’s event in Wisconsin.”
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said the comments were “repugnant”, adding that Trump “needs to apologise directly to women and girls everywhere”.
Another senior Republican, John McCain, said there were “no excuses for Trump’s offensive and demeaning comments”.
The video has emerged two days before Trump takes part in the second presidential debate with Clinton.
The two candidates will be in St Louis for the televised encounter, with polling day only a month away.
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