This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Washington • Sen. Mike Lee said Sunday that embattled Republican nominee Donald Trump cannot win the White House and needs to step aside to allow the GOP to find someone who can take on Democrat Hillary Clinton.
"We've got candidates who can do it. There's still time to do it," Lee said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press." "But we have to actually do it."
Republican officials are fleeing Trump after video emerged Friday showing him making lurid remarks about women, though Trump said Saturday that he will not quit the race. More than a dozen Republicans have un-endorsed Trump, among them Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Rep. Jason Chaffetz. Lee had never endorsed the GOP nominee.
Early voting in the presidential campaign has already begun and it's unclear how if even possible it would be to replace Trump at the top of the ticket. Four weeks from Election Day, ballots are printed and rules vary state by state on how changes to ballots can occur.
Lee told "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd that he wasn't sure who could take Trump's spot, but that there was no question it needed to happen.
"I'm agnostic at this point about who it ought to be," Lee said. "There's still time at this point about who it ought to be. But Mr. Trump, for any of this to happen, needs to step aside."
A defiant Trump said Sunday he has no plans to do so, and that those calling for his ouster have no place doing so.
"So many self-righteous hypocrites. Watch their poll numbers and elections go down!" Trump tweeted Sunday morning.
Trump's surrogates doubled down on that point in appearances on the Sunday morning talk shows.
"The fact is that men at times talk like that. Not all men, but men do," said former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on CNN's "State of the Union." "He was wrong for doing it. I am not justifying it. I believe it's wrong. I know he believes it's wrong. I believe this is not the man we're talking about today."
A new poll by Politico/Morning Consult, conducted Saturday after the video was released, showed nearly three-quarters of Republican voters, 74 percent, saying GOP officials should continue to support Trump. Some 13 percent said the party should withdraw support.
While Trump has uttered controversial statements about Mexicans, Muslims and women during the campaign, the video unearthed Friday drew immediate condemnation by Republican leaders.
In the three-minute video, where Trump is recorded while awaiting the taping of a soap opera, he notes that he tries to sleep with married women and that he is forceful with a woman he finds attractive.
"I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait," he says. "And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything."
"Grab them by the psy," he says. "You can do anything."
Trump offered apologies that night and his running mate, Mike Pence, also said the comments were unfortunate.
Trump's wife, Melania Trump, who had married him three months before the video was recorded, said the comments do not reflect the man she knows but that Americans should accept his apology as she has.
The revelations about the video, and its fallout, come as Trump is scheduled to debate Clinton for the second time Sunday night in St. Louis.
Clinton is expected to use the opportunity to hit Trump on his comments in the video.
For his part, Trump, after meeting with advisers in his Manhattan Trump Tower, said he is not leaving the race.
"I'd never withdraw. I've never withdrawn in my life," Trump told The Washington Post. "No, I'm not quitting this race. I have tremendous support."