Many Republicans are backing away from Donald Trump in the wake of video showing the GOP presidential candidate making lewd comments about women, but Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar isn’t one of them.
A week after hosting a fundraiser that netted Trump $1.5 million— and hours after video recorded during a 2005 appearance on “Access Hollywood” in which the candidate talks about his pursuit of a married woman and groping women— Claar said he’s still backing Trump over Hillary Clinton.
“I can’t say (Trump’s statements) doesn’t bother me,” Claar said Saturday in a phone interview while he waited for a flight at a Florida airport. “But I also read excerpts from Hillary’s email that is also somewhat unfortunate.”
Claar admitted video of Trump in 2005 bragging about groping women and courting a married acquaintance has shaken some of those who paid to be in the crowd of 350 when Trump visited the Bolingbrook Golf Club.
Among those in attendance at the fundraiser in the country club’s Reagan Room: Todd Ricketts, head of a conservative super PAC and a co-owner of the Chicago Cubs; Weather Tech CEO Dave McNeil; and Bears Hall of Famer Dan Hampton.
Claar, who began a trip to Cuba Friday night and missed the early coverage of Trump’s remarks recorded during a 2005 appearance on Access Hollywood, said he got a text from one of the donors who attended last week’s Trump fundraiser.
“He said ‘Well, it’s over,’” Claar said Saturday as he waited for a flight in Florida. “I texted him ‘Why? What happened?’ and he said ‘Google Trump and comments and video’”
“It’s unfortunate,” Claar said. “But it’s not like he’s the first person in the world that’s ever said that stuff.”
Claar said that his discouraged Trump donor also texted him again Saturday after reading about Hillary Clinton campaign emails released by WikiLeaks.
“He said ‘He’s back in it,’” Claar said. “That’s how fast this thing is moving.”
In the video, Trump is apparently unaware that his conversation with former “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush is being recorded, as Trump confides that he did “try and f–k” a married woman, and that his fame allowed him to grope women with impunity.
“When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything… Grab ’em in the p-ssy. You can do anything,” Trump said.
The hacker group WikiLeaks on Friday also released emails from Clinton’s campaign staff that included excerpts from Clinton’s remarks in speeches she made to trade groups after leaving her post as Secretary of State, with the staffers themselves noting that her statements could be used to make Clinton appear overly cozy with the finance industry.
“(Trump’s) language is unfortunate, but (Hillary Clinton’s) actions are questionable ethically,” Claar said. “They’re both challenged candidates.
“Hillary tolerates the same thing from her husband abusing women for years, while he was president, and nobody talks about that.”