Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday called Donald Trump’s leaked tape “disgusting,” but stopped short of saying he won’t vote for the Republican presidential nominee.
Other prominent state Republicans have urged Trump to drop out of the presidential race. But Rauner has been careful about his comments — as he continues to rally support and funding for key state legislative races.
Rauner spoke briefly about the tape controversy before the Columbus Day Parade kicked off in downtown Chicago. It followed comments he made over the weekend in which he called Trump’s comments about women in the tape “appalling.”
Rauner, who said he didn’t watch the debate Sunday night, continued to denounce the tape on Monday.
“The rhetoric, the language, the statements in that tape that’s recently come out — disgusting, appalling, outrageous, beyond any reasonable bounds of decency,” Rauner said.
When asked whether he supports Trump, Rauner said instead that he’s “not endorsing him.”
Rauner, as head of the Illinois Republican Party, didn’t attend this year’s GOP convention and has not endorsed Trump, but he has said he would vote for the Republican nominee.
At an event Downstate Saturday, Rauner said, “I’ll say this. The rhetoric in this presidential campaign [is] appalling, disgusting. As a father [and] as a husband, the language is vile and repulsive, and I condemn it in the strongest possible way.”
Asked if he’ll still support Trump, Rauner replied on Saturday, “I’ve made my comments.”
Among Trump’s most vocal critics is Sen. Mark Kirk, who is facing a tough re-election race against Rep. Tammy Duckworth. Kirk, considered a vulnerable Republican, pulled his support for Trump back in June: “I cannot and will not support my party’s nominee for President regardless of the political impact on my candidacy or the Republican Party,” the senator said in a statement while also criticizing Trump’s temperament.
Kirk on Friday tweeted that Trump should drop out of the race.
Rep. Rodney Davis, who represents central and southwestern Illinois, is also calling for Trump to drop out of the race. Davis was among the few state Republicans who went to the Republican National Convention to support Trump.
“The abhorrent comments made by Donald Trump are inexcusable and go directly against what I’ve been doing in Washington to combat assaults on college campuses,” Davis said in a statement. “I hope Donald Trump withdraws from the race so the American people can elect Mike Pence as our next president.”
Rep. John Shimkus, a Republican from southern Illinois, also issued a statement saying he was “profoundly disappointed and disgusted by Donald Trump’s comments.”
The leaked tape’s audio featured Trump speaking in lewd terms about a married woman he tried to seduce.
“When you’re a star they let you do it,” Trump says in the 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape. “You can do anything.”
He added seconds later, “Grab them by the p—-. You can do anything.”