A gathering of Republican faithful took heart in Donald Trump’s performance at Sunday’s presidential debate, maintaining that he has momentum to overcome the damage his campaign suffered since the leak of a video showing him crudely describing his pursuit of women.
The River City Republicans drew a smaller crowd to the Cordova Restaurant Casino than they attracted for the first debate, when about 60 people enthusiastically cheered for Trump.
This time, about 25 gathered in a meeting room to share a meal and take in Trump’s sparring with Democrat Hillary Clinton.
“It was great to see the back and forth; he unloaded on her tonight,” said Sacramento County Republican Chairwoman Sue Blake.
The crowd was less rambunctious than the first debate, but still motivated when Trump went on the offensive against Clinton.
Republicans applauded when Trump brought up women who’ve accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual assault, for instance.
The room also erupted in laughter and applause when he said Clinton would be “in jail” if he had the authority to investigate her.
When Clinton cited Abraham Lincoln in explaining her leaked remark that officials should take public positions and private positions, one of the Sacramento Republicans said, “She’s no Lincoln.”
River City Republicans President Carl Burton said volunteers have stuck with Trump since the leak of last week’s video. About 100 people showed up for volunteer training this weekend, he said.
Blake also attended several events this weekend with Republican candidates, including Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones. Jones, a candidate for Congress, has pulled his endorsement from Trump and issued a statement this weekend condemning Trump’s comments about his behavior with women in the leaked video.
“I don’t think the party is of two minds,” Blake said. “I look around this room and I see people who are energized.”
Roger Canfield, a member of the county Republican Central Committee, acknowledged that Trump had split the party.
But, he said, “There’s a good chance Trump might destroy the Republican Party. There’s an absolute certainty that Hillary Clinton will destroy American civilization as we know it.”