Branstad and Ernst Stay Behind Trump, Even As Others Abandon Him

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Too many controversial comments to count and, more recently, an explosive tape leaked to the media 11 years later: They are enough for some Republicans, both in Iowa and beyond, to change their plans for their party's nominee.

Not Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and the state's first woman elected to Washington, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst.

First, what's changed with Republicans:

  • U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said he will no longer defend Trump and will now instead focus on keeping the party's majorities in the house and senate. Ryan hasn't pulled his support for Trump, though.
  • Second District Congressional Candidate, Christopher Peters, of Coralville, said he will no longer back Trump.
  • State Representative Ken Rizer, of Cedar Rapids, said he will also no longer support Trump.
  • State Senator Jack Whitver, of Ankeny, said he wants Trump to withdrawal from the ticket.

Now, what hasn't changed:

Branstad and Ernst, while both reaffirming their condemnation of Trump's sexist comments caught on tape from Access Hollywood eleven years ago, also reaffirmed their support for Trump as their party's nominee.

Branstad said, "What he said eleven years ago on that bus, is reprehensible and offensive. Unfortunately, he's not the only one that's said things like that. And there's some people who've done much worse than that."

Ernst said, "I don't condone his actions at all. It's absolutely inexcusable. And the way I'm terming is this: I am not fighting for Donald Trump. I am fighting for my country."