Republican Rep. Mike Coffman has struggled for months to distance himself from Donald Trump without coming out and saying clearly that he won’t vote for his party’s nominee. Friday night, he went even further than many others in calling for Donald Trump to “step aside.”
“For the good of the country, and to give the Republicans a chance of defeating Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump should step aside. His defeat at this point seems almost certain. And four years of Hillary Clinton is not what is best for this country. Mr. Trump should put the country first and do the right thing.”
Coffman’s initial statement criticized Trump’s comments as “deeply offensive and disgusting.” He followed that with, “I don’t see how he overcomes this” without saying explicitly how he would vote himself.
Coffman is facing a competitive race against Democratic state Sen. Morgan Carroll in the diverse Sixth Congressional District that includes Aurora.
Scores of Republicans have condemned Trump’s comments without actually saying they won’t vote for him, and some Republican elected officials have gone so far as to renounce their previous support.
Coffman is one of just a few Republican elected officials to say publicly that Trump should resign as the nominee. Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman have also said Trump should resign.
However, there are reports that top party officials are meeting in Washington to discuss what their alternatives might be.
There is no real precedent for a nominee to resign so close to the election, and it’s not clear what the mechanism would be to replace him on the ballot. More than 34,000 Republican have already voted, the Washington Post reports in a long piece about the challenging logistics of replacing Trump.
And there was no hint that Trump might resign in a video he released late Friday night. He apologized for bragging about grabbing women between their legs but also said story is a “distraction” from the real problems facing the country. He also repeated his earlier statement that former President Bill Clinton has said and done worse things.
“We will discuss more in the coming days,” he concluded. “See you at the debates on Sunday.”
Update: ABC7 has an important clarification. What if Trump remains the nominee? Would Coffman vote for him then? No, says his spokeswoman.
And it looks like Trump is going to remain the nominee. He told the Washington Post Saturday morning he will “never withdraw.”
“No, I’m not quitting this race. I have tremendous support,” he said.