WASHINGTON – Chautauqua County’s representative in Congress says he will continue to stand by embattled Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning, NY 23) said during a conference call with media on Tuesday afternoon that he will not pull his endorsement of Trump, even as other members of the Republican Party have publicly stated they will no longer support the party’s candidate for president.
Trump has been in the spotlight in recent days due to a leaked 2005 video of him making lewd comments about a woman. Some have even claimed the comments refer to sexually assaulting another person because they involve groping without permission. Since the release of the video, Trump has been criticized by both sides of the political aisle. He also attempted to deflect criticism against him by pointing out Bill Clinton’s history of alleged sexual assault during Sunday’s presidential debate.
In the wake of recent denouncements from dozens of Republicans, including Paul Ryan, Trump announced via Twitter that “the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to.” In what is widely viewed as evidence of a widening rift in the Republican Party, Trump went on to bash Ryan as a “very weak and ineffective leader” and label Democrats—”with the exception of cheating Bernie”—as “far more loyal to each other” than Republicans.
Tuesday afternoon, Reed reaffirmed his stance that he is 100 percent against the comments, but also said that Trump is still the better option than Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
“I’m looking at a situation where we have to choose beween Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. I think overall, for the future of the Presidency, Donald Trump gives us the best chance to get the American people’s business done, get us back to work, and keep us secured for generations to come.”
Reed also told reporters that when the Trump story broke, he had a conversation with his wife and family, prior to making the decision to continue his endorsement of Trump.
“We absolutely did talk about this over the past 72 hours. My wife and I did spend a lot of time talking about this,” Reed said. “I am obviously disappointed in that rhetoric and in those statements. I always try to look at the silver lining in these situations and having this conversation, hopefully we can talk to other people and say that kind of talk is not acceptable, and we can start changing the tone of comments, such as that, which have been made.”