Politics

Video Was ‘Footnote’ at Debate, GOP Chair Says

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Potentially damaging remarks by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump from 11 years ago became a “footnote” as last night’s debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton turned to more urgent topics, Mahoning County Republican Party Chairman Mark Munroe said.

“On taxes, health care, the war on ISIS, the economy, the Supreme Court and energy, Trump was the clear winner,” Munroe said. “Clinton was defensive as Trump scored point after point. He looked strong, confident and poised.”

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, a Clinton surrogate, posted on his Facebook page during the debate that the Democrat was “crushing it.” After the debate was over, he posted a screenshot of the results of the CNN/ORC post-debate poll, which indicted 57% of respondents viewed Clinton as the winner versus 34% who said Trump had won.

The highly anticipated second debate between Trump and Clinton came days after the release of a 2005 video that captured hot mic comments by Trump, who was with Access Hollywood host Billy Bush.

In the comments, which were filled with lewd language, Trump boasted that his celebrity status allowed him to kiss women without their prior consent or grope them, and talked about his attempt to have sex with a married woman. He has since said the remarks “don’t reflect who I am.”

The video was addressed early in the debate. Trump, reiterating his stance from his Friday statement, dismissed the remarks as “locker-room banter.” When pressed by CNN host Anderson Cooper, one of the debate’s two moderators, he denied that he kissed or groped women without consent.

The comments spurred a wave of defections from the Trump camp by GOP officeholders, including U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Trump’s onetime rival for the GOP nomination who had not as yet endorsed him, declared that he would not vote for him.

Trump responded to the video by staging an event prior to the debate with three women who have in the past accused Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, of sexual assault, as well as the victim of a rapist whom Clinton was assigned by a judge to represent in court. The four also were Trump’s guests at the debate.

“We’re not surprised to see Donald Trump continue his destructive race to the bottom,” responded Jennifer Palmieri, Hillary for America communications director, in an emailed statement.

The presidential candidates did not shake hands at the start of the debate, a sign of the growing tension between them, but did at its conclusion.

Today Trump will visit Ambridge Area Senior High School in Beaver County, Pa. Clinton will appear this evening at an voter registration event at Ohio State University.

Locally, former Ohio Gov. Dick Celeste will join a Clinton campaign phone bank and canvass in Youngstown and appear at a similar event tomorrow in Steubenville.

Also, Kate Mulgrew and Taylor Schilling, stars of the NetFlix series “Orange is the New Black,” will headline an Ohio Democratic Party Turn Ohio Blue event Friday at The Federal downtown.

 

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.