Mike Pence said he didn’t understand why Michelle Obama had so passionately condemned his running mate, Donald Trump, for boasting about forcibly grabbing women by their genitals.
The First Lady denounced the Republican presidential nominee, although she dismissively never spoke his name, for “speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior” — which she said had “shaken (her) to the core.”
Pence, the GOP vice-presidential candidate, made the rounds Friday morning on television mopping up the sexual assault allegations pooling around Trump after the 2005 hot mic tape was released, and after he insisted during Sunday’s debate that he had never engaged in actions like he joked about in the recording.
“Look, I have a lot of respect for the first lady,” Pence told “CBS This Morning.” “But I don’t understand the basis of her claim.”
Co-host Norah O’Donnell asked Pence whether he believed Trump’s language was “sexually predatory” when he bragged about getting away with grabbing women “by the p*ssy,” whether or not he had their consent, because he was rich and famous.
“I already spoke about my concerns in the language he used in that 11-year-old video, but what he’s made it clear is that was talk,” Pence said. “Regrettable talk on his part, but that there were no actions.”
Pence agreed with Trump that the New York Times and other news organizations were irresponsibly reporting the claims of women who have come forward to say the real estate developer and former reality TV star had victimized them in years past.
“Donald Trump has — has asserted that all of these recent unsubstantiated allegations are categorically false and I do believe him,” Pence said.
Pence told CBS News the Trump campaign would present evidence “that calls into question these allegations,” but he said he would stand by his running mate no matter what scandals might come to light in the coming weeks.
“We’re in this campaign and we’re in it to win this for the American people,” he said. “Donald Trump made it clear, he apologized for what he said 11 years ago. He showed humility. He showed heart.”