As pressure mounts for Republicans to disavow — or at least rebuke — Donald Trump’s boasts about sexually harassing women in a 2005 video, most of Georgia’s GOP congressmen are ducking.
Despite repeated requests for comment over the weekend, nine out of 10 of Georgia’s Republican representatives in the House have not been heard from since damning hot mic audio surfaced on Friday.
Those lawmakers are: Lynn Westmoreland of Coweta County; Tom Price of Roswell; Rob Woodall of Lawrenceville; Austin Scott of Tifton; Doug Collins of Gainesville; Jody Hice of Monroe; Barry Loudermilk of Cassville; Rick Allen of Evans; and Tom Graves of Ranger.
All nine men previously backed Trump with varying degrees of excitement.
The crickets paint a picture of how many down-ballot Republicans are trying to weather the latest Trump storm without damaging their own prospects of reelection as Democrats salivate over the chance to make them sweat.
This all comes as their leader, House Speaker Paul Ryan, is mulling whether to drop his support of Trump, according to Politico. The House GOP plans to huddle today in a private conference call to discuss how to handle fallout from the video.
No top elected Republicans in Georgia have severed their ties with Trump, although almost all that commented publicly have rebuked the New Yorker’s comments.
Of the three congressional Republicans we did hear from over the weekend, two of them looked to shift the focus to Hurricane Matthew recovery.
“He has spent every waking moment focused on the hurricane and is not following anything else at this time. This is a time to put politics aside and come together to get Georgians back home,” said a spokeswoman for Rep. Buddy Carter on Saturday. Carter’s coastal Georgia district was on the front lines of the storm.
“Obviously these comments were disrespectful, and right now Senator Perdue is focused on making sure Georgians are safe and helping our state recover from this major storm,” said a spokeswoman for Sen. Perdue.
Sen. Johnny Isakson, who’s up for reelection this fall, said he was “disgusted” by Trump’s comments but, like Perdue and Carter, did not withdraw his endorsement.
Updated 11:45 a.m.:
During the conference call with House Republican lawmakers, Ryan did not rescind his endorsement of Trump but said he would not defend the nominee or campaign with him for the next 30 days.
According to a person on the call, the Wisconsin Republican said he would instead use his energy to ensure the GOP keeps its majority on Capitol Hill.
The person said Ryan told lawmakers “to do what’s best for you in your district” regarding Trump in the lead-up to the election.