Trump tape sets stage for debate, calls grow for him to quit

Several Republican lawmakers have withdrawn their support for Donald Trump. But the American billionaire has threatened to target the sexual wrongdoings of Hillary Clinton's husband during the debate.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Sunday remained defiant amid calls within his party to abandon the race for the country's top elected office after a controversial 2005 video surfaced over the weekend.

Politics | 10.10.2016

"Tremendous support (except for some Republican leadership). Thank you," Trump wrote on the social media platform Twitter.

"So many self-righteous hypocrites. Watch their poll numbers - and elections - go down," he added, apparently referring to the growing number of Republican lawmakers renouncing support for the American billionaire.

In a video obtained by "The Washington Post" on Friday, Trump boasts about his attempts to have sex with a married woman, while he was married to his current wife, Slovenia-born model Melania Trump.

"I moved on her and I failed, I'll admit it. I did try and f--- her, she was married. I moved on her like a b--ch," he said in the video filmed in 2005.

The presidential candidate goes on to say that due to his celebrity status, he can sexually assault women. "When you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p----. You can do anything," he said.

Trump advisor Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, on Sunday sought to shift blame onto Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Giuliani told American broadcaster CNN that she "was the leader of the attack" against "the women who Bill Clinton sexually assault, sexually abused."

The Republican presidential candidate has warned that he will target Clinton over her husband's sexual wrongdoings during the debate, disavowing a previous pledge not to do so during the campaign.

'Withdraw'

Republican officials and lawmakers have distanced themselves from Trump since the video was released.

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Trump's vice presidential pick Mike Pence on Saturday said he could not defend the billionaire's comment on women, adding that he needed to show contrition in his remarks during the debate.

"We pray for his family and look forward to the opportunity to show what is in his heart when he goes before the nation," Pence said.

Former State Secretary Condoleeza Rice went further, calling on Trump to resign.

"Donald Trump should not be president. He should withdraw. As a Republican, I hope to support someone who has the dignity and stature to run for the highest office in the greatest democracy on earth," she said in a statement published on Facebook.

Several Republican senators have also withdrawn their support, including Arizona's John McCain, New Hampshire's Kelly Ayotte and Utah's Mike Lee.

5 books Donald Trump might have read - or not

The Art of the Deal - Donald J. Trump with Tony Schwartz

The "Art of the Deal" combines Trump's memoirs and business advice. It was a huge best-seller in 1987. Though he's said he wrote it himself, his ghostwriter Tony Schwartz recently discussed the writing process in "The New Yorker" and claims Trump didn't pen it all. The former journalist now regrets having helped create the myth of the charismatic businessman - now presidential candidate.

5 books Donald Trump might have read - or not

The Bible

Trump has often said that he only has one book he prefers to "The Art of the Deal," and that's the Bible. He might skip over that Commandment about not lying, though. Spending 18 months with Trump to prepare the book, Schwartz quickly realized he lied all the time, without remorse. To make his dishonesty sound more acceptable, the ghostwriter came up with the euphemism "truthful hyperbole."

5 books Donald Trump might have read - or not

All Quiet on the Western Front - Erich Maria Remarque

Many feel this 1929 masterpiece on the pointlessness of war should be mandatory reading in school - and it often is. Last May, Trump quoted this work when asked on Fox News if he had a third favorite book. The host asked about more recent reads, and Trump finally admitted, "I don't have the time." While doing his long research, Schwartz never saw a single book in Trump's office or apartment.

5 books Donald Trump might have read - or not

Advertisements for Myself - Norman Mailer

This collection of short works by Mailer promoting his cocky persona is definitely not a book in Trump's nonexistent library. However, its title perfectly describes the content of "The Art of the Deal," writes "The New Yorker." Critics say one deceitful aspect of Trump's 1987 memoirs is how he claims to be a self-made man. His father, Fred Trump, was a politically influential multi-millionaire.

5 books Donald Trump might have read - or not

Trump Nation - Timothy L. O'Brien

The investigative biography "Trump Nation: The Art of Being the Donald," by award-winning journalist O'Brien, debunks many aspects of Trump's public image and his famous business deals. Donald contributed interviews - and unsuccessfully tried to sue O'Brien, too. The 2016 re-edition of the book opens with a typical quote of the self-aggrandizing man: "I can be more presidential than anybody."

ls/rc (AP, dpa, Reuters, AFP)