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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said on Saturday that he was “offended” by his running mate Donald Trump’s recently surfaced vulgar remarks about women, but suggested Sunday’s debate might offer him a platform to “show what is in his heart.”
“As a husband and a father, I was offended by the words and actions described by Donald Trump in the 11-year-old video released yesterday,” Pence said in a statement. “I do not condone his remarks and cannot defend them.”
Pence’s comments come on the heels of The Washington Post publishing a hot-mic moment in which Trump boasted about kissing and groping women. At the time, Trump said he could “grab” women “by the p—y” because “when you’re a star, they let you do it.”
Trump apologized for the remarks in a video published just after midnight on Saturday, but also signaled he’d fight back attacks by pointing to former President Bill Clinton’s history with women.
“I am grateful that he has expressed remorse and apologized to the American people,” Pence said. “We pray for his family and look forward to the opportunity he has to show what is in his heart when he goes before the national tomorrow night.”
An avalanche of prominent Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and party chairman Reince Priebus, have condemned Trump’s comments.
Some Republicans, including No. 3 Senate Republican John Thune of South Dakota, have gone as far as to call on the billionaire to step down as the nominee and hand the ticket over to Pence. Trump said in a Saturday interview with The Post that he would not step down, despite such calls.
Pence was originally scheduled to fill in for Trump at a Saturday event with Ryan. It was later announced Pence would not appear.