Heck, Hardy withdraw support for Trump; Senate hopeful asks him to step down

Senate candidate Dr. Joe Heck speaks while House incumbent Cresent Hardy (left) and Nevada Sen. Dean Heller listen during a rally Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016, in Las Vegas. (Jeff GIllan | KSNV)

Two Republican congressional candidates withdrew their support for GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump during a rally in Las Vegas this morning.

Senate candidate Dr. Joe Heck and incumbent House member Cresent Hardy said they could no longer support Trump following the release of a 2005 video Friday that showed him using vulgar words about trying to go to bed with a woman who was not his wife shortly after he married his current wife.

Heck and Hardy were heckled and booed by Trump supporters at the event at 9416 Del Webb.

The Heck campaign released the text of his speech. It said, in part:

I believe any candidate for president of the United States should campaign with common ethical and moral values and decency. I accept that none of us are perfect. However, I can no longer look past this pattern of behavior and inappropriate comments from Donald Trump. Therefore, I cannot, in good conscience, continue to support him nor can I vote for Hillary Clinton.
My hope is that this will not divide us and that we can unite behind Republican principles. We deserve a candidate who can ask him or herself at the end of the day, 'Did I live my life with honor and do I deserve to be elected president of the United States.'
I believe our only option is to formally ask Mr. Trump to step down and allow Republicans the opportunity to elect someone who will provide us with the strong leadership so desperately needed and one that Americans deserve.
Today, I stand here disappointed in our choices for president but more committed than ever to bringing that same code of honor, decency, and respect to the United States Senate.

Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential candidate, was also present at the campaign, stating that he was offended and dismayed by the recent comments by Trump.

Heck's opponent, former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto released the following statement after Heck withdrew his support for Trump:

For nine months, Joe Heck has been Donald Trump’s strongest supporter in Nevada as Trump has demeaned and disrespected women, made racists comments towards Latinos and showed himself completely unfit to be President. Heck said he had ‘high hopes’ about Trump becoming President, that he completely supported him and that he had no doubts about Trump having his finger on the nuclear button. What you’re seeing now is not leadership, it’s Joe Heck trying to save his career, but Joe Heck’s made clear that he’s with Donald Trump.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval also withdrew his support from Trump on Saturday, releasing the following statement:

This video exposed not just words, but now an established pattern which I find to be repulsive and unacceptable for a candidate for President of the United States. I cannot support him as my party's nominee.

Congresswoman Dina Titus, the Democratic candidate for the 1st Congressional District, also responded to Heck's withdrawal of support for Trump.

"I don’t blame them from wanting to distance themselves from him because he’s a disgrace, but it’s a little bit late. They have to accept some responsibility … he’s the Republican candidate and their behavior over the years has created this Frankenstein," Titus said.

The congresswoman also responded to the recently leaked video of Trump's comments.

"It’s so bad, it’s unbelievable and the things that he said reflect how he feels and a long record of behavior – things he admitted to and said he wanted to do is really sexual harassment and sexual assault," Titus said.

Speaking to two newspapers this morning, including the Washington Post which first broke the video on Friday, Trump said he would not end his candidacy.

"I'd never withdraw. I've never withdrawn in my life," Trump told the Washington Post. "No, I'm not quitting. I have tremendous support."

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