Republican Scott Jones, challenging Rep. Ami Bera for his suburban Sacramento County congressional district, renounced his support for Donald Trump a day after the release of a video showing the GOP presidential nominee speaking about women in vulgar sexual terms.
“Mr. Trump’s comments that were disclosed yesterday discuss conduct which is at best disgusting, and at worst criminal,” Jones said in a statement Saturday. “I can no longer explain to my daughters why I am voting for Mr. Trump. As such, I will be voting for neither candidate for president.”
Jones, the county sheriff, pledged early in the campaign to back his party’s nominee, and in March confirmed he would “definitely support Trump if he were the nominee.”
But as Democrats, including Bera, dialed up pressure on Jones to abandon the GOP’s polarizing standard bearer, Jones slowly backed away, telling a local radio station in August, “I don’t know what I am going to do, to be honest with you.”
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Bera’s campaign had been calling on Jones to withdraw his support since the release Friday of a 2005 video shocked the presidential race. Bera in his prepared remarks sought to link Trump’s tape to allegations against Jones, also from 2005, that he had made unwanted sexual advances toward a subordinate, activity he strongly denied in a sworn statement.
“After months of supporting Trump, Scott Jones’ latest statement is too little too late,” Bera said.
Jones issued a brief statement late Friday disavowing Trump’s remarks as “simply indefensible” and having “no place in our discourse” but did not say what he intended to do in next month’s election.
On Saturday, as a growing group of senators and congressional candidates pulled away from Trump, with some suggesting he step aside, Jones explained that he was extremely disheartened by the choices.
Jones said: “Both candidates in my estimation have significant character flaws, and I find that I share few values with either of them.”