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Where Texas Republicans Stand on Donald Trump

The surfacing of a 2005 clip showing Donald Trump speaking lewdly about women has caused many Republicans to drop their support for their party's presidential nominee. Here's how the controversy is unfolding in Texas.

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Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional comments. It was last updated Oct. 13.

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 Oct. 8: "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 Oct. 9: "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."

Supporting Trump

U.S. Rep. Brian Babin of Woodville 

Has he previously supported Trump? Yes, he threw his support to Trump after Cruz withdrew from the presidential race. "If he’s our nominee, I’ll support him and vote for him," he said on Fox Business News in May. "I have an obligation to support him." 

Where does he stand now? Firmly behind Trump — Babin appeared on CNN Thursday morning to defend the nominee. 

“We're just seeing a lot of tabloid journalism that's going on. The video has been disavowed by Mr. Trump himself. He said he apologized for it. I can't defend it,” Babin said during an interview with Carol Costello.  

He went on to criticize the “national media” for not “scrutinizing” the latest stolen Clinton campaign emails. 

“This is he said, she said,” he added. “Some of it 30 years old. I'm not going to get into tabloid journalism and hypotheticals.” 

U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions of Dallas

Has he previously supported Trump? Sessions declared his support for Trump in a May statement: "It is paramount that we coalesce around the Republican nominee, Mr. Donald J. Trump, and maintain control of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate."

Where does he stand now? Sessions literally stood behind Trump on Tuesday, onstage at a Dallas fundraiser, per a livestream by Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson. He was further spotted on Facebook photos and by sources in the room sporting a “Make America Great Again” hat. His office confirmed that his stance has not changed. 

U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe of Heath 

Has he previously supported Trump? Yes. In May, he lined up behind Trump in a statement: "It’s no secret that I was a Ted Cruz supporter, but Donald Trump is now the presumptive nominee. I’ve said all along that I would support our party’s nominee, and stand by that. ‪#‎NeverHillary‬."

Where does he stand now? He reinforced his support on Tuesday, when he appeared behind Trump onstage at a Dallas fundraiser. 

Critical of 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 Oct. 8: "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 on Oct. 7: "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 on Oct. 8: "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 on Oct. 7: "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, and he has been informally advising Trump on national security for months. 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 on Oct. 8: "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 on Oct. 9: "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."

Burgess stood behind Trump at a Dallas fundraiser on Tuesday, according to a livestream from the room. 

U.S. Rep. Bill Flores of Bryan

Has he previously endorsed Trump? Yes and no. Flores did not initially endorse Trump when he became the presumptive nominee, later criticizing Trump's allegation that a federal judge could not do his job because he is Mexican-American. But Flores, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, got on board after Trump picked Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a favorite of conservatives, as his running mate.

Where does he stand now? "As a husband to a wonderful woman and a grandfather of two precious granddaughters, I found Donald Trump's comments to be despicable," he said in a statement Oct. 10. "More importantly, his comments do not reflect the values of Republican conservatives or the way that we view the proper treatment of women. It is my hope that this election will focus on the great challenges faced by hardworking American families – national security, defeating ISIS, securing our borders, improving our economy, reforming health care, and creating jobs that help strengthen our middle-class and lift families out of poverty.  I share these important concerns of Central Texas families, and I also note that Hillary Clinton has a terrible record of failure in dealing with them."

U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert of Tyler

Has he previously supported Trump? Yes. Since shortly after Trump became the presumptive nominee, Gohmert has said he would vote for Trump in November. But it was not until recently — earlier this month — that Gohmert offered more formal support for Trump in the form of an endorsement. 

Where does he stand now? Gohmert told conservative radio host Sean Hannity on Oct. 10: "I think we should forgive Trump because he made these comments when he was a Democrat ... and he's become a Republican and he knows you're not supposed to talk like that anymore. So they're horrible things and I feel sure there are other things that are going to come out. ... But it was when he was a Democrat and he's changed and he's learned you don't talk like that." 

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 on Oct. 8: "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."

U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold of Corpus Christi 

Has he previously supported Trump? Yes. Farenthold conceded that Trump "crossed a line" earlier this summer when discussing  Gonzalo Curiel, an Indiana-native federal judge of Mexican descent. But, he added: "With President Trump, I’m ready to get off defense and go on offense ... Trump is going to slaughter some sacred cows, and I’m ready for the barbecue." 

Where does he stand now? Farenthold said he does not "like what [Trump] said" but called the comments “locker room talk” on MSNBC Tuesday, adding that “until he does something so bad to make him worse than Hillary [Clinton], I'm still in.” 

Anchor Chris Hayes further asked "If a tape came out with Donald Trump saying... 'I really like to rape women,' you would continue to endorse him?”

"That would be bad. I would have to consider it," Farenthold said.

Farenthold later walked back the comments on Twitter. 

"I apologize for my failure to immediately condemn anyone who would say something as outrageous as they like raping women," he wrote. 

"During an interview on MSNBC with Chris Hayes tonight, I was thrown off by the anchor’s use of a hypothetical question," he added. "I do not, and have not ever condoned, rape or violence against women. That is not the kind of man I believe Donald Trump to be." 

Critical of Trump and still not supporting him

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus

Has he previously supported Trump? No. Straus has never offered support for Trump, often saying he is instead focused on down-ballot races as the chairman of the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee. 

Where does he stand now? Straus said in a statement Oct. 10: "I've had serious concerns about the nominee throughout this entire process. My focus remains on supporting Republican legislative candidates in Texas and across the country." 

Not commenting since Oct. 7

Currently supporting Trump: Attorney General Ken Paxton, Land Commissioner George P. Bush, Comptroller Glenn Hegar, 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. 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. Lamar Smith of San Antonio and U.S. Rep. Roger Williams of Austin. 

Not currently supporting Trump or position not known: U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry of Clarendon, U.S. Rep. Ted Poe of Humble and U.S. Rep. Randy Weber of Friendswood. 

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.

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