Donald Trump has been hemorrhaging elite support since a leaked tape of his 2005 comments about women emerged Friday afternoon, with some Republican elected officials saying they’d withdraw their endorsements of him, and others urging him to drop out of the race entirely.
But the candidate himself is, so far, remaining defiant.
“I’d never withdraw. I’ve never withdrawn in my life,” Trump told the Washington Post’s Robert Costa Saturday morning. “No, I’m not quitting this race. I have tremendous support.”
Trump also pointed out that pundits had declared his campaign over due to some controversy several times in the past, and had always been proven wrong. After Trump said John McCain wasn’t a war hero, he reminded Costa, “Everyone said, ‘It’s over, it’s over.’ The people didn’t say that but the reporters said that.”
Separately, Trump told the Wall Street Journal’s Monica Langley that there is “zero chance I’ll quit” and that the “support I’m getting is unbelievable.” He added: “I never, ever give up,”
And if Trump is truly set on staying in the race, it appears he’ll be perfectly able to do so — from the RNC’s rules, there seems to be no way for the party to force him from the ticket (he’d have to drop voluntarily or die). In any case ballots are already printed in many states, deadlines for qualifying for the ballot have long past, and indeed, thousands of votes have already been cast.
Scandal-plagued politicians do frequently respond to pressure from within their parties to resign their office or drop out of an election race. But Trump is a different beast. He’s an outsider who won’t care one bit about what party elites want him to do. He would only quit the race if he thinks it’s the best option for Donald J. Trump.