WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — Mike Pence is telling Christians this election is no time to “sit on the sidelines.”
Donald Trump’s running mate addressed students at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia as Trump took an aggressive turn against Republican leaders who have abandoned him because of his inflammatory comments about women.
Pence told students at the evangelical college that personal “shortcomings are no excuse for inaction” and they should vote for Trump.
Trump said Tuesday it would be “pretty sad” if he loses the election because of the crude 2005 tape that shows him bragging about being able to grope women because he’s famous.
The GOP nominee told Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” that his language was nothing more than “locker room talk and most people have heard it before.”
“If that’s what it is going to take to lose an election, that will be pretty sad,” he said. “Then I have to go back to my other life.”
He also took aim at House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republicans who said they are no longer supporting Trump, saying he doesn’t need establishment help.
“I wouldn’t want to be in a foxhole with a lot of these people — that I can tell you, including Ryan, by the way, including Ryan, especially Ryan,” Trump said. “I don’t want his support, don’t care about his support. What I want to do is win for the people because Hillary Clinton is a disaster.”
Earlier Tuesday, the GOP nominee tweeted that “it is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to.”
He also lashed out at Republican leaders in a series of tweets, including Ryan, whom Trump called “our very weak and ineffective leader.”
“They don’t give the support that we really need. I think I’m better off maybe without their support if you want to know the truth,” Trump told O’Reilly.
A recent survey by USA Today finds that of the 331 Republican lawmakers, including governors, senators and those in congress, more than a quarter say they are not endorsing Trump, CBS2’s Janelle Burrell reported.
Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck said Tuesday that “Paul Ryan is focusing the next month on defeating Democrats, & all Republicans running for office should probably do the same.”
The House speaker told fellow Republicans on Monday that he’s focusing exclusively on retaining the House and won’t campaign for Trump. That upset some Trump loyalists.
At a rally Tuesday night in Panama City, Florida, Trump focused on Clinton.
“The election of Hillary Clinton would lead to the destruction of our country,” he told supporters.
On Wednesday, he released an ad targeting Clinton, which said the Democratic nominee “only cares about power, money and herself. ”
The Clinton campaign late Wednesday morning also released a new video titled “Donald Trump: The final meltdown.”
Clinton was in Florida Tuesday, a key battleground state, campaigning with Al Gore to talk about the environment and the dangers of climate change. On Twitter, Trump has repeatedly called climate change a “hoax.”
“I would wish that Donald would actually listen to people here in Florida,” Clinton said. “We cannot risk putting a climate denier in the White House.”
Meanwhile, Clinton is fighting against the 1,200 more leaked emails by WikiLeaks, including some from her campaign chair John Podesta.
Clinton’s press secretary dismissed the leaks, calling WikiLeaks “a propaganda arm of the Russian government running interference for their pet candidate, Trump.”
FBI officials say they are investigating the email hacks.
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