Republican Congressman Mike Bost issued a statement Saturday saying he’s “incredibly disappointed” by GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s remarks about groping women.
But Bost, who is serving his first term in Congress and is seeking re-election next month, stopped short of rescinding his support for Trump.
U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, denounced Trump’s remarks, but also stopped short of rescinding his support for Trump.
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, denounced Trump’s remarks and said he’s also rescinding his support for Trump. Davis, who is seeking re-election, also called for Trump to leave the presidential race.
Bost’s statement: “As the father of two daughters and the grandfather of seven young girls, I was incredibly disappointed in his comments. They were wrong, hurtful, and demanding of an apology. We should be lifting our daughters up and encouraging them to achieve their dreams, not reducing them to such a level.”
Bost’s opponent, Democrat CJ Baricevic of Belleville, said Bost needs to call for Trump to quit the presidential race.
“Bost has had far too many opportunities to do what is right, and anything less than his denouncement of Trump’s candidacy is complicit with Trump’s consistently disgusting actions and agenda,” Baricevic said in a statement issued Saturday.
He added, “And if Bost will not condemn Trump, he owes the voters of the 12th district, his wife, his daughters and granddaughters an answer to these questions: What line can’t be crossed before it’s finally enough? Who else must he insult before you will defend them? Which slurs are unacceptable for the children of our community to hear from a candidate for President of the United States?”
Bost, of Murphysboro, represents Illinois’ 12th Congressional District, which covers Belleville and a large part of Southern Illinois.
Bost has previously voiced support for Trump. In June, he said: “If my opponent wants to play guilt by association, then he should take responsibility for Hillary Clinton’s promise to put Southern Illinois coal miners out of work.”
The recording of Trump that surfaced Friday was made in 2005 by a television show, “Access Hollywood,” as Trump prepared to appear on a soap opera.
Trump’s “Access Hollywood” comments have led to widespread condemnation, with several Republican members of Congress calling on Trump to abandon his White House campaign.
In a video posted after midnight, Trump apologized, but also called the recordings a distraction. He told a pair of newspapers on Saturday he would never quit the race.
Shimkus issued a statement Saturday condemning the remarks.
“I am a father to three young men, and teaching them the importance of speaking both to and about women with respect and humility has been a focus in our house since they were small children,” Shimku said. “Thus I am profoundly disappointed and disgusted by Donald Trump’s comments which would most certainly not be acceptable in our home.”
Shimkus is seeking re-election in November but has no opponent in the 15th Congressional District.
Davis issued the following statement:
“As parents of a teenage daughter and teen twin boys, my wife and I teach them to respect women and that they will be judged by their words and actions. 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’ statement continued, “Because of this, I am rescinding my support for Donald Trump and asking to have my name removed from his agriculture advisory committee. With the terrible options America has right now, I cannot cast my vote for any of the candidates, so I hope Donald Trump withdraws from the race so the American people can elect Mike Pence as our next president.”
Davis is seeking a third term in November. He is challenged by Democrat Mark Wicklund in the 13th Congressional District.
David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, said Trump’s remarks present a problem for Republican candidates, who find themselves in a position of having to defend or decry the nominee.
“I think it’s pretty much every person for themselves in the Republican Party right now. Donald Trump is going to be a drag on the Republicans. There’s nothing he can say or do to repair this kind of damage, and it will be talked about for the duration of the campaign. It tarnishes the brand,” said Yepsen, who formerly covered presidential campaigns for the Des Moines Register.
Yepsen said GOP congressional candidates are probably tailoring their responses based on their individual races and districts.
“Shimkus has a safe district, and Bost is probably in pretty good shape. But Davis has a little bit different district. I don’t know that he has a serious threat, but if you say you’re disgusted by the comments, it’s not much of a leap to go ahead and say you’re not supporting him anymore,” Yepsen said.
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, a Republican who is seeking re-election in November and is challenged by Democrat Congressman Tammy Duckworth, had already disavowed Trump. But Kirk on Friday tweeted that Trump “should drop out” and that the Republican Party “should engage rules for emergency replacement.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.