Governor Terry Branstad this morning said he is “proud” the Iowa Republican Party’s leaders have “stuck together” and continue to support Donald Trump.
More than 160 Republican leaders across the country, including the Republican governors of Tennessee and Utah, have withdrawn their support after a recording of vulgar comments from Trump was published this weekend.
“It’s important that we recognize that we’re part of a team and that a lot is at stake in this election,” Branstad said during his weekly news conference. “…When you’re part of a party and you’re part of leadership, it’s important to work together and support the team and I’m doing everything I can to support the team from top and bottom.”
Two Republicans — State Representative Ken Rizer of Cedar Rapids and State Senator Jack Whitver of Ankeny — went on social media this weekend to say they will not vote for Trump. Branstad said nobody agrees “100 percent of the time” and “everybody” is welcome in the GOP, but the governor told reporters getting Trump elected is “critically important to the future of the country.”
“The election is already being held. Early voting is occurring, so I think we need to focus on getting our votes out and getting message across,” Branstad said. “I thought Donald Trump did a good job last night of addressing issues that Americans care about.”
Branstad called Trump’s recorded comments “reprehensible,” but he said it’s a “double-standard” to criticize Trump because Branstad said Hillary Clinton “attacked and tried to destroy” women who accused her husband of “inappropriate things.” Branstad’s son, Eric, is state director of Trump’s campaign.
AUDIO of Branstad’s weekly news conference, 32:00
Iowa Democratic Party chairwoman Andy McGuire issued a written statement this afternoon in response.
“Gov. Branstad glossed over the seriousness of Trump’s clear pattern of harassing, objectifying and demeaning women,” McGuire said. “…By contrast, Hillary Clinton has a long history of elevating women, children and communities in need through programs, actions and deeds.”
Mike Pence, the GOP’s vice presidential nominee, is scheduled to campaign in Des Moines tomorrow, but the Trump campaign has not announced the details of where that event will take place.