In an emergency conference call Monday, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said the Party remains behind controversial GOP nominee Donald Trump, despite continued fallout from the audio tape scandal leaked Friday afternoon.
Washington State Party Chairman Susan Hutchison also defended Trump Friday, illustrating a clear divide among local Party faithful. Both an online petition and Seattle Times Editorial Board article called for Hutchison to be replaced.
Hutchison responded in statement:
"As a Republican leader in this state, I regularly face a hostile media and partisan attacks, all in a day's work," Hutchison wrote. "My role as party chairman is to serve Republican voters, elected officials, party members, donors and our team of hardworking volunteers throughout the state. I have received overwhelming support from them."
KING 5 requested an interview with the Chairman on Monday but was declined.
“I put a lot of responsibility on both our national leaders and our statewide leaders for allowing us to get in this situation, because it really didn't have to happen,” said Marilyn McKenna who put herself in the “Never Trump” category earlier this election season.
“There's no conceivable way I would support him just because he has an R behind his name,” McKenna told KING 5.
McKenna, a former Republican political spouse married to Rob McKenna during his 17 years in elected office, tweeted late last month: “My Party abandoned me, not the other way around. #I’mwithher.”
My party abandoned me, not the other way around. #ImWithHer— Marilyn McKenna (@mckennamarilyn) September 28, 2016
“Do I agree with Hillary Clinton on every single position, absolutely not. But, I have no doubt she is fit to be president,” McKenna told KING 5.
While Republican lawmakers and leaders are split, The National Federation of Republican Women issued a statement Monday stating the group still stands behind the Republican ticket.
“We must vote for the Republican nominee,” said Eileen Sobjack of Whatcom County.
“Of course initially I was very shocked,” Sobjack said of the Trump tape. “It was 11 years ago. It was an awful thing Donald Trump said.”
However, Sobjack said, for her, the election is about defending conservative principles.
“What’s really important to us today are the issues,” Sobjack said.
But outside of Party faithful and Trump’s base, the tape has become a new issue for female voters.
“I feel like that was really the straw that’s going to break this camel’s back,” said Marilyn McKenna.
McKenna, who says she still considers herself Republican, says it’s time for the Party to reflect following 2016.
“Fundamentally, the party itself really needs to do some introspection and think a little bit broader of who are we,” said McKenna.
“To continue down this path, it’s going to implode. It really will,” she said.