The leader of the U.S. House of Representatives distanced himself from Donald Trump on Monday as the Republican presidential candidate’s campaign sank deeper into crisis over his sexually aggressive remarks about women.
House Speaker Paul Ryan told an emergency meeting of fellow Republican lawmakers that he would neither defend Trump or campaign with him in the coming 30 days, the time remaining to the Nov. 8 presidential and congressional elections, but would focus on protecting Republican majorities in Congress.
His comments were made during a conference call by Republicans in the U.S. Congress, a source familiar with the call said. The call was arranged to work out how to handle the fallout from a video that surfaced on Friday showing the Republican nominee making lewd comments about women in 2005.
Ryan said that he would spend the remainder of the election campaign making sure that if Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wins in November she does not get a “blank check” in the form of Democrat-controlled Congress, the source said. Republicans currently control both the House and Senate.
The latest drama around Trump, a New York businessman who has never previously run for public office, has plunged the party into its biggest crisis in decades.
Ryan has had several public disagreements with Trump but until now has nonetheless supported his presidential bid.
During a weekend dominated by criticism of Trump over the remarks about women, a string of members of Congress, governors and other prominent Republicans called on him to drop out of the race.
Republican members of Congress are worried that Trump’s campaign could ruin their chances of holding their majorities in the elections and inflict long-term damage on the party.
Nearly half of all 332 incumbent Republican senators, congress members and governors have condemned Trump’s remarks, and roughly 1 in 10 have called on him to drop out of the race, according to a Reuters review of official statements and local news coverage.
But any attempt to replace Trump on the ballot this close to Election Day would face huge legal and logistical hurdles.
A defiant Trump went on the offensive in a vicious presidential debate on Sunday, saying Clinton would go to jail if he were president and attacking her husband, Bill Clinton, for his treatment of women.
The debate, the second of three before the vote, was remarkable for the brutal nature of the exchanges between the two.
(Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell, David Morgan, Amanda Becker, Amy Tennery, Michelle Conlin, James Oliphant and Susan Heavey; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Frances Kerry)
White House adds 20 percent increase to ‘best case’ projection of coronavirus deaths
The White House is moving the goal posts once again. Instead of taking drastic action, like asking every state's governor to mandate a quarantine to reduce the spread of coronavirus, it is quietly upping its projected death toll, just one day after stunning Americans with a six-digit death rate.
On Sunday President Donald Trump told Americans he thinks if 100,000 Americans die from coronavirus he will have done "a very good job."
On Monday Dr. Deborah Birx announced the White House is projecting 100,000 to 200,000 deaths.
Tuesday evening, the number increased 20 percent.
Olympic athletes in ‘impossible position’ – Canada
Canadian Olympic chiefs said Monday the health and safety of athletes had prompted the country's decision to withdraw its team from the Tokyo Olympics amid the coronavirus pandemic.
A day after Canada became the first team to announce its withdrawal from the July 24-August 9 Games, Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) chief David Shoemaker said athletes had been left in an "impossible position."
With public health authorities urging individuals to stay inside to curb the spread of COVID-19, athletes had been caught between a desire to heed health and safety advice while trying to minimize disruption to training programs.
Vietnamese women strive to clear war-era mines
Inching across a field littered with Vietnam war-era bombs, Ngoc leads an all-women demining team clearing unexploded ordnance that has killed tens of thousands of people -- including her uncle.
"He died in an explosion. I was haunted by memories of him," Le Thi Bich Ngoc tells AFP as she oversees the controlled detonation of a cluster bomb found in a sealed-off site in central Quang Tri province.
More than 6.1 million hectares of land in Vietnam remain blanketed by unexploded munitions -- mainly dropped by US bombers -- decades after the war ended in 1975.
At least 40,000 Vietnamese have since died in related accidents. Victims are often farmers who accidentally trigger explosions, people salvaging scrap metal, or children who mistake bomblets for toys.