Vice President Mike Pence's wife, Karen Pence, was reportedly appalled by President Donald Trump's remarks about kissing and groping women without asking for consent. Former Trump campaign officials disclosed that Karen Pence's opinion of the president never recovered following the leaking of his comments made on the set of TV show "Access Hollywood."
On Dec. 5, several sources close to the Trump campaign who requested anonymity stated that the Pences were outraged by Trump's comments about women during the final month of the 2016 election. The controversy allegedly prompted Mike Pence to consider replacing Trump as the Republican nominee, The Atlantic reports.
In October 2016, The Washington Post obtained an audio recording of Trump caught on a hot microphone having a profane conversation about women with former "Access Hollywood" host Billy Bush in 2005.
"You know I'm automatically attracted to be beautiful -- I just start kissing them," Trump told Bush aboard a studio bus. "I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait."
Trump added: "And when you're a star, they let you do it ... Grab them by the p***y. You can do anything."
A former Trump campaign aide said the Pences felt betrayed by the comments because Trump had previously impressed upon them his Christian convictions and values. The aide said Karen Pence was "disgusted."
"She finds [Trump] reprehensible -- just totally vile," the aide stated.
Another former Trump campaign aide alleged that the GOP and the Pences expected Trump to cede the nomination following the leaking of the audio tape.
"They thought they were going to be able to get him to drop out before the second debate," the aide said. "Little did they know, he has no shame."
When the audio tape was released, Karen Pence was furious about Trump's comments and Mike Pence was "beside himself," The Associated Press reported.
Trump apologized for his remarks at the time, stating in a video recording, "I've said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more than a decade-old video are one of them."
On Nov. 28, The New York Times reported that Trump had questioned the authenticity of the audio tape at least twice after he entered the White House. The president allegedly told a U.S. senator and his advisers that he did not believe the voice in the recording was his.
On Dec. 3, Bush wrote an editorial asserting that Trump had indeed made the comments.
"Of course he said it ... Along with Donald Trump and me, there were seven other guys present on the bus at the time, and every single one of us assumed we were listening to a crass standup act," Bush wrote.
The former television host added that he believed the women who had accused the president of sexual assault and harassment.
"To these women: I will never know the fear you felt or the frustration of being summarily dismissed and called a liar, but I do know a lot about the anguish of being inexorably linked to Donald Trump," Bush concluded.
Sources: AP, The Atlantic, The New York Times (2), The Washington Post / Featured Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr / Embedded Images: Sgt. Kalie Jones/U.S. Army/Wikimedia Commons, Pvt. Gabriel Silva/U.S. Army/Wikimedia Commons