Morrisville, N.C. — Both of North Carolina's U.S. senators say they continue to back Donald Trump's run for president, despite vulgar remarks about women that recently surfaced on an 11-year-old videotape.
While many Republican leaders have withdrawn their support for Trump, including Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, North Carolina leaders have largely joined Gov. Pat McCrory in walking a line between condemning his language but continuing to back his campaign over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
"I'm concerned with what he said. It’s indefensible," Burr said after appearing at a corporate groundbreaking in Morrisville on Monday. He drove to the occasion in a car that sported a Trump bumper sticker.
"But when I look at where America needs to go from an economic standpoint, from a jobs standpoint, from a national defense standpoint, I can't see Hillary Clinton getting us there," Burr said. "So, I support the person who I think best can change America, and right now, that’s Donald Trump given the two choices."
When asked about Sunday's contentious debate between the two presidential contenders, Burr said, "both candidates proved they are not role models for the next generation. But we don't get to pick, now, any additional folks to run."
Asked for Tillis' take on whether he continued to support Trump, spokesman Daniel Keylin pointed to the senator's remarks on social media, where he called Trump's statements "indefensible." Tillis added that Trump should "apologize to women everywhere."
However, the senator did not withdraw his support for Trump’s presidential campaign, and Keylin said Monday that Tillis was focused on helping the state recover from Hurricane Matthew.
"Sen. Tillis' full attention is being devoted to working with local, state and federal officials to respond to the devastating impact of Hurricane Matthew," Keylin said. "There will be an appropriate time and place for the senator to address the state of the presidential campaign, but right now is not that time."
Although the two men share the same position, Burr is in a re-election campaign now against Democrat Deborah Ross. The North Carolina Democratic Party criticized Burr's continued support for Trump.
"Richard Burr's decision to look out for himself and continue serving on Donald Trump’s campaign, even in the face of Trump’s latest vile comments about women, just shows once again that Richard Burr is a classic Washington politician who puts his own political interests first," said Matt Kravitz, the state party's press secretary. "That’s wrong, and North Carolina voters want a senator who will stand up for our values, not Donald Trump’s."