AUSTIN - Donald Trump returned to Texas to ask Republican donors for more money as a GOP civil war continues to intensify.
As Trump Force 1 touched down Tuesday for private fundraisers in San Antonio and Dallas, Texas Democrats issued a challenge to their Republican colleagues.
"If Donald Trump is the standard-bearer of your party in a primary that you participated in, it's only fair that we ask the people who are running for office, who are running to represent us, if they intend to continue endorsing a person who has said the things that he's said," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a press conference Tuesday morning in Dallas.
The damning 2005 video in which Trump describes using his fame to kiss and grope women without their permission has forced Republicans to defend or disown. Texas Reps. Kay Granger and Will Hurd have both called for Trump to withdraw from the race. Hurd, who faces former Rep. Pete Gallego in one of the tightest reelection battles in the country, issued an initial statement Friday evening.
"I find Donald Trump's comments that were released today to be utterly sickening and repulsive for all women and Americans," wrote Hurd. "As a proud son of a wonderful mother, the brother of a strong and successful sister, the uncle to four beautiful nieces, I am ashamed that any person much less a nominee for President of the United States would speak that way of women. We deserve better."
Hurd followed up with a second, more forceful statement on Saturday, writing, "I never endorsed Donald Trump and I cannot in good conscience support or vote for a man who degrades women, insults minorities and has no clear path to keep our country safe. He should step aside for a true conservative to beat Hillary Clinton."
Others stopped just short of calling for the nominee's exit.
"I am disgusted by Mr Trump's words about women: our daughters, sisters and mothers," tweeted Sen. John Cornyn, "And I am profoundly disappointed by the race to the bottom this presidential campaign has become."
Rep. Michael McCaul tweeted, "As the father of five children, including four daughters, I find Donald Trump's comments reprehensible and unacceptable. This is not an example we should set for our children, or an image we should project of our country."
"Deeply disturbing rhetoric by Trump," tweeted Gov. Greg Abbott. "An insult to all women & contrary to GOP values. Absent true contrition, consequences will be dire."
"There is absolutely no excuse to ever talk about women in such a crude and demeaning way," Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who chairs Trump's Texas campaign, wrote in a statement. "He was certainly right to apologize. But we can't let this firestorm distract voters from the frightening policies revealed today in the WikiLeaks of Hillary's emails, including her 'dream' of 'open trade and open borders,' which would spell ruin for the future of our country."
Former foe, then late endorser, Sen. Ted Cruz was cornered by local media Monday in Muleshoe. Asked whether he continues to back the Republican candidate for president, Cruz told Gil Lamb Advertising Channel 6, "I am supporting the Republican nominee because I think Hillary Clinton is an absolute disaster."
Federal election reports show Texans have contributed $60 million to the presidential race, $40 million of which went to Republicans. Of that, Texans donated $7 million directly to Donald Trump. The most recent polls show Trump leading Clinton by six to seven percentage points among likely voters.
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