McCain withdraws support for Trump
© Getty Images

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainVeterans group to hand out USS John McCain T-shirts for July 4 on the National Mall Will we ever have another veteran as president? Meghan McCain clashes with Joy Behar as the 'sacrificial Republican' on 'The View' MORE (R-Ariz.) on Saturday withdrew his support from Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question MORE in the wake of leaked tapes of Trump making lewd comments about women in 2005.

ADVERTISEMENT

"I have wanted to support the candidate our party nominated," McCain said in a statement. "He was not my choice, but as a past nominee, I thought it important I respect the fact that Donald Trump won a majority of the delegates by the rules our party set. I thought I owed his supporters that deference."

"But Donald Trump’s behavior this week, concluding with the disclosure of his demeaning comments about women and his boasts about sexual assaults, make it impossible to continue to offer even conditional support for his candidacy," he continued. 

"Cindy, with her strong background in human rights and respect for women fully agrees with me in this."

McCain joins a growing list of GOP lawmakers who have withdrawn their support of the embattled business mogul.

With McCain's defection, former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole is now the only living Republican presidential nominee to support Trump.

The Arizona senator, who has a double-digit lead in recent polls over a Democratic challenger, has largely kept his distance from Trump. He has criticized the mogul for attacking a Gold Star family and a federal judge of Mexican heritage, but until Saturday had stood by his endorsement.

The withdrawal comes over a year after Trump said that McCain, who was tortured for years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, was not a war hero because "he was captured."

"I like people that weren't captured, OK? I hate to tell you," Trump said at the Family Leadership Summit in July 2015.

In his statement Saturday, McCain did not reveal who he would vote for, but maintained that he would not cross party lines.

"Cindy and I will not vote for Donald Trump," he said. "I have never voted for a Democratic presidential candidate and we will not vote for Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden to debate for first time as front-runner Top Trump ally says potential Amash presidential bid could be problematic in Michigan Chaotic Trump transition leaks: Debates must tackle how Democrats will govern differently MORE. We will write in the name of some good conservative Republican who is qualified to be President."

- Updated at 5:22 p.m.