Where Texas Republicans Stand on Donald Trump
Editor's note: This story has been updated to include a statement released Sunday by U.S. Rep. Kay Granger.
The surfacing of a 2005 clip showing Donald Trump speaking lewdly about women has caused many Republicans across the country to drop their support for their party's presidential nominee. Here's how the controversy is unfolding among Texas Republicans in Congress and in statewide office:
Calling for Trump to step down
U.S. Rep. Will Hurd of San Antonio
Has he previously supported Trump? No. Shortly after Trump became the presumptive nominee, Hurd said he could not support Trump — but left open the possibility of ultimately voting for Trump.
Where does he stand now? Hurd said in a statement Saturday: "I never endorsed Donald Trump and I cannot in good conscience support or vote for a man who degrades women, insults minorities and has no clear path to keep our country safe. He should step aside for a true conservative to beat Hillary Clinton."
U.S. Rep. Kay Granger of Fort Worth
Has she previously supported Trump? No. Granger declined to endorse him when asked by the Tribune over the summer.
Where does she stand now? Granger released a statement on Sunday: "We have heard rumors about the insensitive and vulgar things Mr. Trump says about women. But watching that video is disgusting. Mr. Trump should remove himself from consideration as Commander in Chief."
Criticizing Trump but still supporting him
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn
Has he previously supported Trump? Yes. Cornyn endorsed Trump when he became the presumptive nominee and urged Republicans to unite behind him. Since then, however, Cornyn has come across as a less-than-enthusiastic backer, sometimes declining to even discuss Trump and other times urging him to stay focused on the issues.
Where does he stand now? Cornyn said in a series of tweets Saturday: "I am disgusted by Mr Trump's words about women: our daughters, sisters and mothers. And I am profoundly disappointed by the race to the bottom this presidential campaign has become."
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz
Has he previously supported Trump? Yes and no. Cruz, Trump's former bitter rival in the primaries, did not initially support Trump after he defeated the Texas senator. At the Republican National Convention in July, Cruz pointedly declined to endorse Trump, causing an uproar on the floor. But Cruz finally came around last month, issuing an endorsement he said was based on his opposition to Clinton and conservative priorities such as the future of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Where does he stand now? Cruz said in a series of tweets Friday: "These comments are disturbing and inappropriate, there is simply no excuse for them. Every wife, mother, daughter — every person — deserves to be treated with dignity and respect."
Gov. Greg Abbott
Has he previously supported Trump? Yes. As soon as Trump became the GOP's presumptive standard bearer, Abbott urged support for the "nominee" — but seemed to avoid direct boosterism of Trump in the ensuing weeks and months. However, Abbott recently clarified that he is fully behind Trump.
Where does he stand now? Abbott said in a tweet Saturday: "Deeply disturbing rhetoric by Trump. An insult to all women & contrary to GOP values. Absent true contrition, consequences will be dire."
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick
Has he previously supported Trump? Yes. Patrick, who backed Cruz in the primaries, has been Trump's most vocal booster among Republican elected officials in Texas, and he currently chairs Trump's efforts in the Lone Star State.
Where does he stand now? Patrick said in a statement Friday: "There is absolutely no excuse to ever talk about women in such a crude and demeaning way. He was certainly right to apologize. But we can't let this firestorm distract voters from the frightening policies revealed today in the WikiLeaks of Hillary's emails, including her 'dream' of 'open trade and open borders,' which would spell ruin for the future of our country."
U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul of Austin
Has he previously supported Trump? Yes and no. McCaul did not immediately back Trump when he became the presumptive nominee, but he came around relatively quickly — and has ended up being one of Trump's closest allies in the Texas delegation. McCaul spoke at the Republican National Convention, he has been informally advising Trump on national security for months and hours before the clip surfaced Friday, Trump gave him a formal role, naming him to his national security advisory council.
Where does he stand now? McCaul said in a statement Saturday: "As the father of five children, including four daughters, I find Donald Trump's comments reprehensible and unacceptable. This is not an example we should set for our children or an image we should project of our country."
U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess of Lewisville
Has he previously supported Trump? Yes. Shortly after Trump became the presumptive nominee, Burgess said he would do everything he can to help get him elected. Burgess spoke at a rally Trump had in June in Dallas.
Where does he stand now? Burgess said in a statement Sunday: "When I heard of the comments made by Mr. Trump in 2005, I was distressed. I cannot condone nor defend these remarks. However as Mr. Trump stated, this campaign has changed him as a candidate and a man and this election needs to be about which candidate will advance our conservative principles. Based on comments made by Hillary Clinton in paid speeches, there is no doubt Mr. Trump remains the best candidate for President. Saturday morning I was contacted by a constituent. Her observation: 'A vote for Trump is not to condone his behavior, but to preserve what little freedom we have left in America.' I could not agree more."
Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller
Has he previously supported Trump? Yes. Beyond Patrick, Miller has been perhaps Trump's biggest backer among GOP elected officials in Texas. Miller is a member of Trump's Agricultural Advisory Committee, and Miller spoke at a rally Trump held in August in Austin.
Where does he stand now? Miller said as part of a Facebook post Saturday: "I pray that some poor choices by the Republican nominee some eleven years ago before he was a candidate for public office not obscure the things that have been done within the last year by #HillaryClinton to subvert justice and put our national security at risk."
Not commenting since Friday
Currently supporting Trump: Attorney General Ken Paxton, Land Commissioner George P. Bush, Comptroller Glenn Hegar, U.S. Rep. Brian Babin of Woodville, U.S. Rep. Joe Barton of Ennis, U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady of The Woodlands, U.S. Rep. John Carter of Round Rock, U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway of Midland, U.S. Rep. John Culberson of Houston, U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold of Corpus Christi, U.S. Rep. Bill Flores of Bryan, U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert of Tyler, U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Dallas, U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson of Richardson, U.S. Rep. Kenny Marchant of Coppell, U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer of Lubbock, U.S. Rep. Pete Olson of Sugar Land, U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe of Heath, U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions of Dallas, U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith of San Antonio and U.S. Rep. Roger Williams of Austin.
Read more of our related coverage:
- Top Texas Republicans line up to condemn Trump's remarks.
- Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's ability to appeal to women voters — even in a red state like Texas — is under scrutiny.
- Ted Cruz said he's willing to forgive Donald Trump for family attacks.
Abby Livingston contributed to this report.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2016/10/09/where-texas-republicans-currently-stand-donald-tru/.